First Installment of National Strategy for Suicide Prevention Unveiled: Goals and Objectives for Public, Private Sectors

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United States Surgeon General

Surgeon General David Satcher, flanked by leaders of the public and private suicide prevention community, unveiled his report on the first phase of a new national suicide prevention strategy in May at the National Press Club. The report outlines 11 goals and 68 objectives for public and private organizations involved in the prevention of suicide, an act that took the lives of 4,452 youth between the ages of 10 and 24 in 1998. "Only recently have the knowledge and tools become available to approach suicide as a preventable problem with realistic opportunities to save many lives," Dr. Satcher said.

The goals in the report include: promoting awareness that suicide is a preventable public health problem, reducing the stigma around mental health disorders, and expanding community-based suicide prevention programs. Among the specified objectives are incorporating suicide-risk screening at the primary health care level, implementing a national violent death reporting system that includes suicide and increasing the number of "faith-based communities that integrate suicide prevention into their ongoing activities."    

According to the report, suicide is the third-largest killer among 15-24-year-olds. 145 pages. Free. Knowledge Exchange Network (KEN), P.O. Box 42490, Washington, DC 20015. (800) 789-2647.

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This report concludes that from 1960 to 1997, federal spending on children increased by 246 percent, from $48.6 billion to $168.5 billion, while the actual number of children and youth benefiting from the spending grew 9.7 percent, from 67.1 million to 73.6 million. Other figures show that direct spending on children has shifted from the middle class to poorer populations. The increase in spending on children is due largely to three new programs (Earned Income Tax Credit, Medicaid, and Food Stamps) which account for half of the increase and together equal one-third of total federal spending on children. 19 pages. Free, online only at Contact: The Urban Institute, 2100 M St. N.W., Washington, DC 20037. (877) 847-7377. E-mail: