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Bipartisan suicide prevention bill passes in the senate Tuesday night



The Senate on Tuesday night officially passed the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, would require the Federal Communications Commission to study the national suicide prevention hotline system and subsequently, make recommendations to improve it, according to a release from Donnelly's office.

Improvements include using a three-digit suicide hotline number, which Donnelly said would make it easier for teenagers, veterans or anyone else with a mental health crisis to get help in the moment. 

"I'm pleased our bipartisan legislation passed the Senate because it could make a difference for families in Indiana and across the country," Donnelly said in the release. 

The bipartisan bill, introduced in May, works to simplify the process of calling a suicide hotline, according to a release from Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, at the time of the bill's introduction. 

Indiana is ranked 28th in suicide death rates, with Wyoming listed as first nationally, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The state accounts for 960 suicide deaths out of the national count of 44,193.

It is the second leading cause of death between the ages of 15 and 34 and the 11th overall leading cause of death in Indiana. 

Hatch said in the release that many parents he has spoken with over the last year did not know where to turn to for help. 

"While there is no perfect solution to this devastating problem, this legislation is a step in the right direction," Hatch said in the release from Donnelly's office. 

Both Donnelly and Hatch urged the House to act quickly on getting the legislation passed, so it can be signed into law. 

Katelyn Haas

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