History of Suicide Prevention

Combat Reintegration

September is designated as Suicide Prevention Month to promote awareness and strengthen the fight against suicide. Suicide is far too common in society, but especially among veterans and active service members. Although the title Suicide Prevention Month is new, suicide prevention is not a new endeavor.

In 1958, the first suicide prevention center opened up in Southern California, thanks to funding from the U.S. Public Health Service. Twelve years later, in 1970, the National Institute of Mental Health assembled a task force to discuss the status of suicide prevention in the country.

In 2001, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) established certified crisis centers nationally. Due to these crisis centers, SAMHSA created the first program aimed at serving all persons at risk of suicide in the country.

In 2004, legislation came into play for the first time. The Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act was passed, creating the first youth suicide prevention grant program.

In 2012, the United States created a long-term prevention plan for suicide called The National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. The plan concluded that the goal of saving lives could only be achieved through a series of coordinated steps.

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