On Wednesday, June 22nd, the House passed Ayanna Presley’s Amendment, which mandates the Department of Health (DOH) and Human Services to investigate the rise in suicide among youth with chronic illnesses. This category of chronic illnesses includes autoimmune conditions such as Alopecia Areata.
The timing of this legislation is incredibly relevant. Just three months ago, 12-year-old Rio Allred committed suicide after the years of bullying she endured because of her Alopecia. The community is still grappling with this tragedy. Yesterday, the Congresswoman addressed the House with an incredibly personal message honoring Rio and emphasizing the importance of this Amendment. Our country is facing a dire mental health crisis, especially impacting our youth. In the past few years, suicide rates among youth have exponentially increased because of a multitude of factors, including social media and the pandemic. However, even before the pandemic, children with Alopecia and other chronic illnesses were more prone to depression. Congress must allocate resources to analyze and address this issue.
Under this Amendment, the Secretary of Health and Human Services must research suicidal behavior and produce guidelines to remedy these urgent issues.
To watch Pressley’s address on the floor, click this link: