Advocates Urge Louisiana Legislators to Prevent Suicides by Promoting Mental Health

For media requests: Cynthia Elmer, AFSP Louisiana Chapter Board Chair, [email protected]

Advocates from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to Meet with Lawmakers

BATON ROUGE, LA (MAY 23, 2016) – Research has consistently shown that nine out of 10 people who die by suicide have a mental health condition at the time of their death, often either not diagnosed or inadequately treated. On Tuesday, May 24, 2016, volunteers from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, will visit Baton Rouge to meet with lawmakers to urge their support for legislation promoting the mental health of Louisiana residents. At 2 p.m. Tuesday, advocates will participate in a photo opportunity at the Governor’s Office.

“I lost my son, Kevin, and nine other family members to suicide in the last four generations.  I have turned my grief into something positive by joining with The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in trying to help end the negativity associated with suicide and to bring about better understanding of all mental health issues,” said Cynthia Elmer, volunteer with the AFSP Louisiana chapter.

The advocates are part of a larger national contingent of AFSP volunteers who will be visiting various state capitols across the United States in spring 2016 to bring best practices in mental health and suicide prevention to state legislators and their staff. This is the first year advocates are visiting Baton Rouge.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death for people ages 15-34 in Louisiana. Suicide cost Louisiana a total of $675 million of combined lifetime medical and work loss cost in 2010, or an average of $1.2 million per suicide death. Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death overall in Louisiana.

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.



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