Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Suicide by the numbers in Pa.

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Advocates from the state chapters of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention were in Harrisburg last week to push for more resources to battle drug and alcohol addiction and provide more support for mental health counseling and treatment as a way of cutting the rate of suicides in the state. They were backing two bills: •State Bill 134 (prime sponsor Sen. Mario Scavello, R-Monroe County), which would provide a loan forgivenes­s program for qualified college graduates entering mental health, intellectu­al disability and drug and alcohol treatment profession­s. There is high turnover in these jobs because of low wages. •State Bill 44 (prime sponsor Anthony H. Williams, D-Philadelph­ia), which would prohibit mental health profession­als from engaging in sexual orientatio­n conversion therapy with teens under age 18. Such practices have been rejected as scientific­ally invalid by the American Psychiatri­c Associatio­n, but concerns about this can lead to increased risk of suicidal behavior among teens.

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