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Steans law will update state’s suicide prevention strategy

steans 041119SPRINGFIELD – A new law sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) that updates Illinois’ suicide prevention strategy was signed by the governor today.

Steans’ measure requires the Department of Public Health to strengthen efforts to prevent suicide in Illinois. In 2016, suicide caused more deaths than homicide, motor vehicle accidents, and prevalent diseases like liver disease, hypertension, and HIV.

“When suicide takes a loved one from us, we’re left wondering ‘What could I have done?’” Steans said. “By partnering with advocates and devoting state resources in support of all our knowledge about how to prevent suicide, we’re doing what we can do right now.”

Steans’ law requires the department, working with the Illinois Suicide Prevention Alliance, to develop recommendations to prevent suicide using evidence based practices and promote any coordinating activity needed to implement them.

“The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention thanks Senator Steans for guiding this bill through the General Assembly and Governor Pritzker for signing it into law,” said Steve Moore, the Co-Chair of the Illinois Chapter of the AFSP. “As the 11th leading cause of death in Illinois, suicide is a serious but preventable public health issue. By creating an effective state government structure for addressing suicide, the enactment of this law will save lives.”

Suicide caused nearly 1,500 deaths in Illinois in 2017, the most recent year for which data is available.

In addition to lives lost, suicide has a significant economic impact on Illinois, with each suicide death resulting in more than $1 million in medical costs and work loss costs, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

Senate Bill 1425 is effective immediately.

Senator Heather Steans

steans-2014-150

7th District

Years served: 2008 - Present

Committee assignments: Appropriations I (Chairperson); Appropriations II; Environment and Conservation; Executive Appointments; Executive; Government Accountability/Pensions; Human Services.

Biography: Born May 8, 1963, in Lake Forest, IL; B.A. in Urban Studies from Princeton; M.A. in Public Policy from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government; former budget director, WI Department of Industry, Labor and Human Relations and former strategic planner, Chicago Public Schools; married (husband, Leo Smith) with three children.

Associated Representatives:
Kelly M. Cassidy
Gregory Harris