Advocates Visit Boston to Encourage Continued Investment in Suicide Prevention


For media requests: Alexis O’Brien, AFSP PR Director, 347-826-3577, [email protected]

BOSTON, MA (April 5, 2016) – Five times as many people die by suicide in Massachusetts annually than by homicide. On Wednesday, April 6, volunteers from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, will join the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention for “Speak Up to Save Lives: Suicide Prevention in Massachusetts,” a joint event held at the Wyndham Hotel in Boston and the Massachusetts State House from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Advocates will hold meetings with lawmakers to urge their continued support for suicide prevention, including funding FY17 DPH Budget Line Item for suicide prevention (4513-1026) at $4.61 million and amending Chapter 71, section 95 to strengthen existing requirements for suicide awareness and prevention training  in public and charter schools.

“Through advocacy we are breaking the silence about suicide, a leading cause of death in the United States. Effective policies on public health, safety and education about suicide must be part of our state and national conversation,” said David O’Leary, Framingham resident and Chair of the AFSP Greater Boston Chapter.

By supporting FY17 DPH Budget Line Item for suicide prevention (4513-1026), funds would be available to support suicide prevention efforts across MA, including funding helplines and crisis teams, depression screenings, and mental health services and programs for veterans, LGBTQ+ populations, and youth.

Currently, the existing law requires that all public school districts and Commonwealth charter schools provide at least two hours of suicide awareness and prevention training every three years to all licensed school personnel. However, this requirement is subject to appropriation. By amending Chapter 71, section 95 we would strengthen the existing law to ensure that school personnel receive training regardless of the state of the economy.

The advocates are coming from two AFSP chapters, the Greater Boston Chapter and the Western Massachusetts Chapter. The MCSP is public-private partnership that assists in the formation of regional coalitions and led the development of the updated Strategic Plan for Suicide Prevention for the state of Massachusetts.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 10-34 in Massachusetts. Suicide is the 12th leading cause of death overall in Massachusetts.

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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