NAB Pres./CEO Gordon Smith Continues To Champion Suicide Prevention Program For Late Son
June 14, 2016 at 11:35 AM (PT)
NAB Pres./CEO GORDON SMITH's continuing support of the GARRETT LEE SMITH MEMORIAL ACT, a federally funded suicide prevention program he first championed while serving as a U.S. Senator from OREGON on behalf of his late son, who took his own life in 2003 the day before his 22nd birthday, was the subject of a special report on BOSTON UNIVERSITY New/Talk NPR station WBUR for its "Here & Now" program, which can be heard here.
SMITH's son struggled with reading disabilities, and several bouts of depression, fueled by insomnia, alcohol abuse and low self-esteem, but no one imagined he would take his own life.
Ten months later, SMITH introduced the act on the SENATE floor. "I didn't volunteer to become a champion of this issue," he said at the time, "but it arose out of the personal experience of being a parent who lost a child to mental illness and suicide."
The GARRETT LEE SMITH ACT was signed into law on OCTOBER 21st, 2004, with $82 millionin funding, and has been renewed each year since then for about $30 million. It is currently up for refunding, which prompted the article.
"I believe this funding will continue," said SMITH. "I believe it needs to continue, it is saving human lives.