On Oct. 21, President George W. Bush signed the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act. If passed, the bill will authorize $82 million in grants to help prevent suicide in young people. Of the amount, $15 million is appropriated to colleges and universities for suicide prevention programs.
Suicide is the second-leading cause of death of college students. It is a considerably larger problem than many people realize. Most suicide cases are only quietly talked about, and not usually publicized. The signing of this bill is an essential and overdue step in the right direction for teen suicide prevention.
The fact that suicide is even being talked about at the national level will help more people become aware of how big of a problem it actually is.
The appropriated funds will be used not only for mental health centers and counseling, but for training clinics and suicide awareness. The best ways to prevent suicide are to be aware of it and of its warning signs.
Many argue that money, in any amount, will not help depressed and suicidal teens. It is obvious that $15 million in grants divided among the nation’s universities is not going to help a single university’s suicide-prevention strategies monumentally.
It is a start, though. If the money is spent in the right places and given to help the right people, it will help.
Others feel that parents who have weak relationships with their children shape depression and suicidal thoughts in children, and that a healthy life at home will shape a healthy individual.
This is likely true, but it is important to remember that some young people don’t have parents who can be there for them all the time. Also, some individuals are not good parents.
The facts that suicide is being publicly talked about – and that the president of the United States wants to proactively do something to prevent it – is great, no matter what level or amount of help is received.