A new federal law authorizes $82 million over three years in grants aimed at preventing suicide among young people, the Associated Press reports. The Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act is named for the son of Oregon Republican Sen. Gordon Smith, who championed the legislation as a tribute to his 21-year-old son, who committed suicide last year. It emphasizes screening programs that identify mental illness in children as young as sixth-graders, and provides referrals for community-based treatment and training for child care professionals.
Jerry Reed of the Suicide Prevention Action Network said the law is the first federal law specifically aimed at youth suicide prevention. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that more than 3,000 children and young adults take their lives each year, making suicide the third-leading cause of death between the ages of 10 and 24.