Advocates to Urge Lawmakers to Prioritize Suicide Prevention in Charleston

              Contact: Amanda Pritt ([email protected]), 304-859-5026

Advocates to Urge Lawmakers to Prioritize Suicide Prevention in Charleston

CHARLESTON, WV (January 9, 2020) – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and in West Virginia.  On Friday, January 17, advocates from the West Virginia Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, will meet with lawmakers to urge their support of future legislative and funding efforts that prioritize suicide prevention for West Virginia’s youth and first responders.

“Advocacy gives us an opportunity to tell our stories as loss survivors and support those who are still struggling.  It allows elected officials to see how suicide has impacted our lives.  It emphasizes the need for better mental health care and suicide prevention action in West Virginia,” said Jason Ferrebee, AFSP West Virginia Chapter Board Member and Out of the Darkness Walk Co-Chair.

The AFSP West Virginia 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 legislators to share their stories about why they participate in this advocacy effort, giving a human face to this important public health problem. Advocates hope that by sharing their stories, they will help lawmakers understand that investments in mental health and suicide prevention can save lives.

AFSP West Virginia advocates are part of a larger national movement of AFSP volunteer advocates who will visit state capitols across the United States in 2020 to bring best practices in suicide prevention to legislators and their staff. To learn more about AFSP’s advocacy efforts, visit here: https://afsp.org/our-work/advocacy/.

On average, 129 Americans died by suicide each day in 2017, and upwards of 90% of those individuals 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 residents across the state affected by mental health conditions and 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 and the District of Columbia 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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