Jan. 4, 2018- It is the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s mission to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide. Advocating for public policies that support mental health and suicide prevention is essential to our mission, and it is AFSP’s volunteer Field Advocates – meeting with their elected officials, informing their communities, and supporting lifesaving legislation and programs – who make our advocacy work possible.
Our Field Advocates participate in State Capitol Day events across the country, contact their elected officials from home and in Washington, D.C., and work individually and within their local AFSP chapters to change the way government and policy address mental health and suicide prevention for the better.
The United States is beginning to recognize what we at AFSP have been saying for decades – that suicide is a national public health crisis and preventing suicide must become a national priority. Elected officials are gradually taking notice of how important this cause is. This is made evident by our recent accomplishments, such as increased federal funding for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255), along with federal and state legislative successes regarding better data collection involving mental health and suicide, increased suicide prevention training, crisis lines, and more. This past year we launched four new State Capitol Day events, reflecting increased interest in advocating for suicide prevention on the part of volunteers across the country.
In the upcoming year we’re looking forward to more successes and we’re confident about our opportunities to achieve some of our longstanding advocacy goals. We will be launching eight new State Capitol Day events, and are hoping to have one in every state. To combat rising suicide rates, we’ll be engaging with all levels of government for more funding for suicide-related research, preventative initiatives, and mental health treatment programs. We need to build upon our legislative successes and use that momentum to fight for many more, stronger pieces of legislation.
It is our collective responsibility to inform our policy makers about our cause, support the issues we know can save lives, and establish a culture of suicide prevention across the country.
At the end of this month, thousands of Federal, state, and local elected officials across the whole United States will be sworn into office. Some are new to government, others are unfamiliar with our work, and many support our cause but don’t know how to make the best impact.
It is our challenge to AFSP’s volunteer Field Advocates to seize the opportunities of this new year. The need has never been more evident for everyone involved in our cause to educate their legislators, rally for more scientific research funding, support those affected by suicide, and fight for suicide prevention public policy. The time to end suicide is now. 2019 must be an exceptional year filled with further successes for suicide prevention. With the passionate, active Field Advocates that we have, we know we will make positive change across the country.
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