Annual Event to Encourage Lawmakers to Make Suicide Prevention a Legislative Priority
COLUMBUS, OH (April 11, 2016) – Every year, on average, over twice as many people die by suicide in Ohio than by homicide. On Tuesday, April 12, volunteers from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, will visit the Ohio Statehouse to encourage lawmakers to support suicide prevention legislation as part of the second annual “Suicide Prevention Day at Ohio’s Capitol.”
“With suicide among the leading causes of death in Ohio, greater mental health awareness and education of suicide risk and warning signs needs to be on the forefront,” said Gigi Bertolini, an AFSP field ambassador in Ohio. “It is crucial that we work together with legislators to prevent suicide and save lives.”
Advocates will be asking their representatives to support two different pieces of legislation: House Bill 323 regarding Public School District/Private School License Plates, and House Bill 440 regarding Ohio Survivors of Suicide Loss Day.
House Bill 323 would require public school districts that receive contributions from the use of public school district license plates to use those contributions to pay expenses for student services to develop or maintain student mental and emotional well-being, or to train faculty to provide said student services. Services may include bereavement counseling and/or counseling and education regarding bullying, dating violence, drug abuse, and suicide prevention, among others.
House Bill 440 would designate the Saturday before Thanksgiving as “Ohio Survivors of Suicide Loss Day.” Survivors of Suicide Loss Day is an internationally recognized day when people affected by suicide loss gather at events in their local communities to find comfort and gain understanding as they share stories of healing and hope.
Last year, in a significant move forward in combating this leading cause of death, the Ohio legislature passed House Bill 28, which now requires state institutions of higher education in Ohio to develop, implement, and post online a policy that advises students and staff of available suicide prevention and mental health services on and off campus. AFSP thanks the legislature for their unanimous support of this important legislation.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 15-34 in Ohio. Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death overall in Ohio: on average one person dies by suicide every six hours in the state.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, and with a public policy office in Washington, D.C., AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.