House committee passes Katko’s bill to increase funding for national Suicide Prevention Lifeline

The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee on July 15 advanced U.S. Rep. John Katko’s (R-NY) bipartisan bill to authorize increased funding for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline from $12 million to $50 million.

“Suicide rates remain on the rise in our country, and there’s no question we need to devote greater resources to improving mental health and to bolster support for local suicide crisis centers,” Rep. Katko said. “Today, the Committee on Energy and Commerce took significant steps towards achieving that goal.”

The committee approved the Suicide Prevention Lifeline Improvement Act of 2019, H.R. 4564, which Rep. Katko sponsored in September 2019 with lead original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) to bolster aid for local suicide crisis centers. The bill now heads to the floor of the full U.S. House of Representatives for consideration.

In his central New York district, the congressman said crisis centers provide suicide prevention and counseling services, and handle the majority of local calls to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, usually on extremely tight budgets.

If enacted, H.R. 4564 would bolster federal funds toward increasing quality assurance, eliminating call wait times, and providing support to friends and family of those in crisis who call the Lifeline, Rep. Katko said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated already rising rates of mental illness and calls to the Lifeline, increasing the strain on local crisis centers,” said Rep. Katko. “Now more than ever, we must ensure those in need have access to life-saving assistance through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.”