P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 3, 2009
AUSTIN — Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, will be honored today for her work on mental health and suicide prevention by the Texas Suicide Prevention Council.
She was the Senate sponsor of legislation that gives local communities the opportunity to share timely data on suicide deaths. The data does not include names of individuals, but can contain age, race or national origin, gender, zip code, school or college attended, military status, method used and the date of death.
Prior to the new law, the most recent publicly available data was from 2005.
"Readily available, up-to-date information can help mental health officials identify potential groups at risk and implement prevention strategies" said Senator Nelson, chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.
The bill was authored by Rep. Elliott Naishtat, who also was to receive an award at the Texas Suicide Prevention Symposium.
"We are particularly appreciative of the work Senator Nelson and Representative Naishtat did with the support of Mental Health America of Texas to pass H.B. 1067," said Merily Keller, founding board member of the Suicide Prevention Council.
In Texas suicide is the 10th leading cause of death, the third leading cause of death among youth ages 15 to 24, and the second leading cause of death for college-age students. Suicide claimed the lives of 13,656 Texans from 2000-2005.