TAG Expert Joel Dvoskin Testifies at House Hearing on Suicide Prevention

On September 18, 2014, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing to discuss “Suicide Prevention and Treatment:  Helping Loved Ones in Mental Health Crisis.”  TAG expert Joel Dvoskin, PhD, underscored the scope of the problem in noting that suicide “ranks among the 10 leading causes of death in the United States.  Nearly 40,000 Americans commit suicide each year—approximately 105 per day.”  Dvoskin, an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Arizona, testified that “we know how to prevent suicide.  We just don’t do it.”

Calling suicide “the very definition of a ‘mental health crisis,’” Committee Chairman Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) said that, in 90 percent of suicides, an underlying diagnosis of mental illness is a contributing factor.  Also testifying was former Florida Member of Congress Lincoln Diaz-Balart, who shared the very personal story of a son who died by suicide last year.  Diaz-Balart told the Subcommittee, “I must admit, I believed that all you need is love.  I never thought our tragedy of May 19, 2013, was possible. . . . Assertive, proactive intervention is sometimes required to get needed treatment to those in mental health crisis.” 

Click here to see the full video of the hearing and a link to a related Congressional memorandum.


1.       Dvoskin, Joel.  Statement to the House, Committee on Energy and Commerce, Suicide Prevention and Treatment: Helping Loved Ones in Mental Health Crisis, Hearing Sept. 18, 2014.  Available at:  http://energycommerce.house.gov/hearing/suicide-prevention-and-treatment-helping-loved-ones-mental-health-crisis. Accessed:  10/8/14.

2.       Subcommittee Members Review What Steps are Necessary to Help Those in Mental Health Crisis in Preventing Suicides,” Energy and Commerce Committee, United States House of Representatives, September 18, 2014.  Web. 8 Oct. 2014.

Simon Levshin