On average, one person dies by suicide every five hours in the state of New York. The nation’s largest organization dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention gave a Federal Allies in Action Award on Tuesday, June 14 to Congressman John Katko, of New York’s 14th district, for his dedication to suicide prevention. Representative Katko lost his niece to suicide.

“We’re pleased to honor Congressman Katko for his leadership in Congress in making mental health a priority and standing up for the rights and needs of people with mental illness and their families. We look forward to seeing what other great accomplishments will come of his hard work,” said Bob Gebbia, AFSP CEO.

Representative Katko is a supporter of the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646), and is an outspoken supporter of mental health and suicide prevention.

Over twice as many people die by suicide in New York annually than by homicide. Suicide cost New York a total of $1.8 billion of combined lifetime medical and work loss cost in 2010, or an average of $1.1 million per suicide death. Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death overall in New York.

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