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Health and Human Services

Preventing a fatal choice

published 2/14/2007
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The House Housing Policy and Finance and Public Health Finance Division held over for possible inclusion in its omnibus bill, HF315, which would re-appropriate $1.1 million a year for suicide prevention grants.

“The decisions about this funding are life and death decisions,” said Linda Schott, whose brother killed himself while a sophomore at Minnesota State University, Mankato. “As our funding was chiseled away, so has our suicide rate begun to climb in this state.” No funding has been provided since 2005.

In Minnesota, 542 people committed suicide in 2006, the most in state history, according to the Department of Health. In 2003, the department reported that suicide was the second leading cause of death among 15- to 34-year-olds.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Mary Ellen Otremba (DFL-Long Prairie), would provide funding at the rate allocated in 2001. The money would finance community-based efforts through a grant process; in 2004, 13 projects were funded.

A companion bill, SF214, sponsored by Sen. Yvonne Prettner Solon (DFL-Duluth), awaits action by the Senate Finance Committee.

- Mike Cook


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