Norm Needleman


Norm Needleman



March 29, 2021

Senator Needleman Endorses Legislation Fighting Suicide, Supporting Mental Health in Public Health Public Hearing

State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) today endorsed the Public Health Committee’s public hearing today regarding two important pieces of legislation focused on fighting and preventing suicide and supporting mental health, recognizing the importance of supporting and helping individuals who may be struggling and would benefit from additional resources. The legislation would respectively require continuing education for medical providers regarding suicide prevention and improve how mental and behavioral health services statewide are administered.

“Connecticut’s population loses hundreds of people per year who die by suicide,” said Sen. Needleman. “We lose hundreds of friends, of brothers and sisters, children and parents, and each one of their absences leaves a wide, gaping hole in their loved ones’ lives. The suicide epidemic, especially among Connecticut’s youth, must be fought with every resource we have. That’s why I endorse the legislation heard today by the Public Health Committee. Every life these efforts save makes them incredibly worthwhile, and as such, I plan to give them my support on the Senate floor if given the opportunity.”

The Public Health Committee today passed two important bills focused on suicide and mental health support:

  • Senate Bill 1085, “An Act Concerning Suicide Prevention,” would establish a Connecticut Suicide Advisory Board, additionally requiring continuing medical education regarding suicide prevention. Specifically, the board, comprised of medical and government officials, would be tasked with fighting youth suicide and advertising suicide prevention for all state residents, including developing suicide prevention programs for various age groups in the population. Medical professionals will also be asked to receive at least one hour of training in suicide prevention in addition to other education they undergo when renewing their medical licenses.
  • Senate Bill 1086, “An Act Concerning Mental and Behavioral Health Services,” seeks to improve the provision of mental and behavioral health services in Connecticut. Among its changes include allowing minors to receive more than six sessions of mental health treatment without parental consent if such consent would be detrimental to the minor; annual physicals would include mental health examinations; and medical providers cannot use “step therapy,” or the gradual approach of using less expensive strategies for care first, in treating individuals receiving drugs for longer than sixty days or in receiving treatment of a behavioral health condition.