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October 22, 2012
New national strategy aims to reduce suicides

A new government strategy to reduce the number of deaths by suicide is being rolled out nationwide. It is based on a call by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who launched the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention in September.

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The Action Alliance is composed of approximately 200 public- and private-sector organizations, such as Facebook, united by a common vision of a nation free from the tragic experience of suicide.

Suicide is a public health issue that results in an average of 100 American deaths each day, more than double the average number of homicides.

“The latest research shows that suicide is preventable, suicidal behaviors are treatable, and the support of families, friends, and colleagues are critical protective factors. Suicide prevention needs to be addressed in the comprehensive, coordinated way outlined in the national strategy,” said U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin. Dr. Benjamin is also promoting the national suicide prevention line—800-273-TALK (8255).

Sebelius said the campaign carries a message of hope. “The national strategy will bring together the nation’s resources, both public and private, in an organized effort to provide life-saving services and improve the ability of individuals, friends, and family members to recognize the warning signs of despair and take action to save lives.”

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