Press Release: 

Mental Health America of Texas and the Texas Suicide Prevention Council respond to widespread media coverage of CDC report of increase in deaths by suicide in the United States with messages of help and hope.

April 22, 2016   

     Austin, TX (April 22, 2016) The recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report highlighting the increase of suicides in the United States from 1999 to 2014 demonstrates incremental increases of the U.S. suicide rate (deaths per 100,000 population) over a 15-year period to an overall increase of 24% during this time.* According to Lynn Lasky Clark, President and CEO of Mental Health America of Texas, “Because of the wide spread media coverage of this report, it is important to couple the data shared with concrete action steps for Texas and Texans to make our state suicide safer. Texans need to educate themselves about the warning signs for suicide and know how to refer someone at risk to help.”

     Merily Keller, state-wide trainer in suicide prevention for Mental Health America of Texas and co-founder of the Texas Suicide Prevention Council, joins Clark in emphasizing the importance of ‘saving a number to save a life’ by putting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number into your cell phone (1-800-273-8255).” “By educating ourselves about suicide prevention,” she says, “we can come together as caring communities and help save lives for Texas. “ She also notes,  “Every county in Texas is served by a community mental health center which can provide suicide crisis services and 24/7 crisis hotlines.” Individuals can search by county, city or zip code on the Texas Department of State Health Services website (

     Mental Health America of Texas and the Texas Suicide Prevention Council in partnership with the Texas Department of State Health Services and local suicide prevention coalitions have adopted and implemented strategies to provide a national-to-local integrated approach to reducing suicide deaths in Texas. “This innovative effort has grown significantly since the first Texas State Plan for Suicide Prevention was written in 2002 and now provides a conduit to support Texans working together to address our state’s suicide prevention needs, to build suicide safer communities, and to promote resiliency, hope, and recovery,” said Troy Bush-DiDonato, current co-chair of the Texas Suicide Prevention Council.

     Clark stresses, “An ongoing, well-funded and coordinated national-to-state-to-local strategy is vital to lowering the tragic loss of life by suicide.”  This is emphasized by the joint statement issued by the national partners of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention earlier today (

     For more information on Texas resources related to suicide prevention, go to: and follow on Twitter: @StopTXSuicides.

     We urge all reporters and media personnel working on this subject matter to please follow safe reporting guidelines, posted at:

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     * A key finding noted in the CDC’s NCHS Data Brief No. 241, April 2016 that from 1999 through 2014, the age-adjusted suicide rate in the United States increased 24% from 10.5 to 13.0 per 100,000 population, with the pace of increase greater after 2006.  Whereas in Texas for a similar time period (1999-2013) the DSHS online searchable database for death statistics ( indicates the suicide rate for all ages increased from 10.5 in 1999 to 11.6 in 2013, which is lower than the national data.

Contact:  Julie Burch, MHAT Communications Director
512.454.3706 x 218,

Merily Keller, Texas Suicide Prevention


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Press Contact Info

Contact: Julie Burch, Communications Director
Phone: 512.454.3706 x 218