Advocates to Visit Des Moines to Be The Voice for Youth Suicide Prevention

       Contact: Kevin Atwood ([email protected])    

Advocates to Visit Des Moines to Be The Voice for Youth Suicide Prevention

DES MOINES, IA (February 12, 2019) – Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and it is the ninth leading cause of death in Iowa. On Thursday, February 14, 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 Iowa residents including support of HF 88 providing for the creation of a school safety hotline, internet site, and mobile application, HF 106 prohibiting mental health providers from engaging in sexual orientation change efforts or conversion therapy with a patient of any age, and HF98 to establish the Iowa Center for Suicide Prevention within the Department of Education.

“We lost our dear son Jake in November of 2014 to suicide. I can no longer stand by helplessly and watch as we lose neighbors, friends and others to suicide.  As advocates we work hard to build relationships with our policy leaders, often baring our raw and heartbreaking stories of lost loved ones and even struggles of our own.  Through these relationships with the leaders, we are able to work with them to emphasize the need to put education and prevention methods in place. Iowa has lagged behind other states in regard to suicide prevention and mental health care, but together we can strive toward improving the numbers to work to be one of the best,” said Dave Andrews AFSP Iowa Chapter Public Policy Committee member.

The AFSP Iowa 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 Iowa Chapter 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 American dies by suicide every 11.69 minutes and 90% of those who die by suicide 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 Iowa 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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