TRENTON, N.J. – Legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman BettyLou DeCroce consolidating the state’s two suicide prevention programs into one office won committee approval today. The bill (A3645) creates a suicide prevention council in the Health Department. It passed the Assembly Human Services Committee 6 to 0.
“Searching for information can be very frustrating when you aren’t sure exactly where to look,” said DeCroce (R-Morris). “Consolidating two existing suicide councils into one will result in a more efficient and effective program to help people in crisis. Better access to education, data sharing and greater public awareness of this mental health issue is key to its prevention.”
DeCroce’s bill creates the New Jersey Suicide Prevention Advisory Council in the Health department. It replaces the New Jersey Youth Suicide Prevention Advisory Council in the Department of Children and Families and the New Jersey Elderly Person Suicide Prevention Advisory Council in the Human Services department.
“Suicide is heartbreaking. The devastation it leaves in its wake for family members and the community can be unbearable,” concluded DeCroce. “The real tragedy is there are resources available, but often people aren’t sure where to find them. This legislation will provide easier access.”
Suicide is the third leading cause of death for people ages 10 to 34 and the eleventh leading cause of death overall in New Jersey, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. A person commits suicide every 11 hours in the state on average.