Advocates to Be the Voice for Suicide Prevention and Mental Health in Jefferson City

             Contact: Rebecca Pamperl ([email protected])

Advocates to Be the Voice for Suicide Prevention and Mental Health in Jefferson City

JEFFERSON CITY, MO (February 19, 2019) – Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and in Missouri.  On Wednesday, February 20, advocates from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, will arrive at the state capitol to meet with lawmakers to encourage them to prioritize suicide prevention initiatives for Missouri residents, including support of HB 516 prohibiting mental health professionals from engaging in conversion therapy or sexual orientation change efforts with minors; HB 852 requiring school districts to annually notify students and parents of the district’s suicide prevention policy and school personnel to be trained annually on the contents of and how to implement the policy; HB 653 requiring health insurers to cover diagnosis and assessment of mental health conditions without preapproval requirements; and HB 904 requiring health insurers to submit annual reports to the Department of Insurance that describe their compliance with parity requirements and requiring the Department to publicly disclose that information.

“I became an advocate for suicide prevention after losing my brother to suicide in 2003 and struggling myself with depression. I am now the voice for myself and my brother. Mental health is something our country needs to research and support so that we can prevent suicide. Having a loved one die by suicide is just unbearable and I have seen too many Missourians hurt by suicide. I urge lawmakers to help me and my fellow advocates reduce the rate of suicide in Missouri,” said Rebecca Pamperl, AFSP Greater Mid-Missouri Chapter Board Member and Field Ambassador.

The AFSP Missouri State Capitol Day is a special day for all who have a connection with or a personal story around the topic of suicide. Volunteers will meet with their state legislators and share their stories about why they participate in this advocacy effort, giving a human face to this important health problem. Advocates hope that by sharing their stories, they will help legislators understand that state investments in mental health and suicide prevention can save lives.  

AFSP Missouri advocates are part of a larger national movement of AFSP volunteer advocates who will be visiting over 40 state capitols across the United States in 2019 to bring best practices in suicide prevention to state legislators and their staff. To learn more about AFSP’s advocacy efforts, visit here: https://afsp.org/our-work/advocacy/.

One hundred twenty-nine (129) Americans died each day by suicide in 2017, and 90% of those had a diagnosable mental health condition at the time of their death. AFSP volunteers will urge state lawmakers to be the voice for the thousands of Missouri residents affected by suicide each year.

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, 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.

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