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Sen. Schumer calls suicide a public health crisis

On Monday Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) paid a visit to Liberty Resources on Syracuse’s northside. Schumer announced a three-pronged plan to tackle an issue crushing our communities day in and day out. “Suicide is on the dramatic increase,” said Schumer. “Suicide among young people is on the dramatic increase. Probably every one of us has friends or family that have experienced suicide.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the suicide rate has spiked by 33% in the last 20 years, reaching its highest level since World War II. In Onondaga County, 248 people took their own lives between 2013 and 2017.

The first part of Schumer’s plan is to boost federal money for localities like Liberty Resources to offer new treatments and service for those at risk. “While the number of lives lost has gone up. The federal government’s attention to this issue has basically stayed flat.”

The second part is a new push for more medicare-supported residency training spots for mental heath doctors. Local leaders in the mental health field said there is a vital need for clinicians in central New York. SUNY ESF partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Syracuse chapter Monday to host a “Let’s Talk about Mental Health” presentation. SUNY ESF’s director of counseling services Ruth Larson said she has no where to send her students locally. “I have been here for three years and have no psychiatrists to refer our students to,” said Larson. “I end up tending to refer them to a psychiatrist back in their home community.”

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