Contact: Alexis O’Brien, PR Director, 347-826-3577, [email protected]
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Favors the Passage of HB 7127
HARTFORD, CT (April 5, 2017) – Three times as many people die by suicide in Connecticut annually than by homicide. To help prevent this tragic loss of life, volunteer advocates from the Connecticut chapters of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention are visiting the state capitol on Wednesday, April 5th to encourage their legislative leaders to support Mental Health Parity HB 7127, training for health care professionals and resources for college campuses. The advocates will be hosting a free ice cream social for their legislators and their staff members at the Capitol at 3 p.m.; interested media can rsvp by emailing [email protected].
“This first AFSP Connecticut State Capitol Day is a special day for all of us who have dealt with a personal story of suicide. This day allows us to stand up and spread the word about the great work AFSP does in creating education programs and providing tools and resources to help save lives. Our volunteers share their stories about why they participate in this advocacy effort with their state legislators to give a human face to this important health problem. We hope that by sharing our stories, we will help the legislators understand and prioritize suicide prevention. This will make a long-term difference in our communities and hopefully save lives,” said Tom Steen, Board Chair for the AFSP Northern Connecticut chapter. The advocates are part of a larger national movement of AFSP volunteer advocates who will be visiting 35 state capitols across the United States in spring 2017 to bring best practices in suicide prevention to state legislators.
Health Professionals Training
Health professionals regularly encounter patients who are suicidal. According to a study published in the Annals of Psychiatry, 45 percent of people who die by suicide, in the month prior to their death, had contact with a primary care physician, and 19 percent had contact with mental health services. In the year prior to their death, 77 percent of people who die by suicide had contact with a primary care physician, and 32 percent had contact with mental health services. Yet without a mandatory suicide prevention training session that health professionals are required to attend, they are left untrained in how to deal with people who are suicidal. Six states currently require this training via statute including Kentucky, New Hampshire, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Washington and Utah.
College Campus Mandates
Life-saving information, such as improving access to crisis intervention hotlines or text services, the availability of mental health programs and services, and suicide prevention resources both on and off campus, could be made easily accessible for all college and university students, faculty and staff. Schools could also improve communication standards and a protocol for support of students, faculty and staff following a suicide death on campus. If schools were more transparent about mental health services they offer, it would reduce the fear and misinformation surrounding mental health and reinforce help-seeking behavior.
Mental Health Parity, HB 7127
24.2 million Americans with mental illness did not receive mental health services in 2014, and 43.6 million Americans experience a mental illness every year. HB 7127 will allow the insurance commissioner to enforce the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (federal legislation). Under HB 7127, each health carrier will be required to comply in accordance with the requirements of state laws and regulations, and shall submit a report to the commissioner on or before March 1 each year, covering the preceding year.
Suicide in Connecticut
Suicide is the twelfth leading cause of death overall in Connecticut. For people aged 10-34 in Connecticut, it is the second leading cause of death. On average, one person dies by suicide every 23 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, AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. AFSP celebrates 30 years of service to the suicide prevention movement. 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.
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