Advocates Urge Utah Lawmakers to Prioritize Mental Health, Crisis Services

              Contact: Taryn Hiatt ([email protected], 385-497-1680)

Advocates Urge Utah Lawmakers to Prioritize Mental Health, Crisis Services

SALT LAKE CITY, UT (February 7, 2020) – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and the seventh leading cause of death in Utah.  On Thursday, February 13, advocates from the Utah Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, will meet with lawmakers to urge them to prioritize suicide prevention and mental health legislation, including HB 229 (creating a process for Extreme Risk Protection Orders), HB 32 (expanding state crisis services and resources), and future efforts to better enforce mental health parity laws and educate consumers. The event will also include a brief press conference at 11:30 a.m. in the Capitol Board Room.

“As a suicide researcher, I know that over 600 precious souls die by suicide every year in Utah. Research tells us that more than 100 people are affected by each suicide. As a suicide loss survivor, I advocate for Them. I advocate for Him. I advocate for Her. I advocate for You.” said Brandon Callor, AFSP Utah Chapter Board Member and Field Advocate.

The AFSP Utah Capitol Day is a special day for all who have a connection with or a personal story around the topic of suicide. Attendees 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 Utah Chapter 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, 132 Americans died by suicide each day in 2018, 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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