MINNESOTA ADVOCATES FROM THE AMERICAN FOUNDATION FOR SUICIDE PREVENTION VISIT ST. PAUL TO MEET WITH LAWMAKERS

For media requests: Alexis O’Brien; AFSP PR Director; (347) 826-3577 or [email protected]

MINNESOTA ADVOCATES FROM THE AMERICAN FOUNDATION FOR SUICIDE PREVENTION VISIT ST. PAUL TO MEET WITH LAWMAKERS

  1. PAUL, MN (March 19, 2019) — On average, every eleven hours, someone dies by suicide in Minnesota. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and the eighth leading cause of death in Minnesota. On Wednesday, March 20, advocates from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, will visit St. Paul to urge lawmakers to prioritize suicide prevention and mental health initiatives for all Minnesota residents, including funding for suicide prevention and mental health crisis services (SF 804/HF 62) and for suicide prevention training for teachers (SF 734/HF 813).  Advocates will also be urging support for SF 1229 /HF 1340 to ensure enforcement of mental health parity requirements and SF 83 /HF 12 to protect minors from the practice of conversion therapy.

“The suicide rate in Minnesota continues to increase, and suicide is now our state’s eighth leading cause of death. We lose more than nine times as many residents to suicide each year than to alcohol related motor vehicle accidents. Where’s the funding for suicide prevention? Where’s the cry to make a difference?  This is a public health issue that is highly preventable, and we all have a role to play in its prevention, including our government,” said Rev. Tristan English, AFSP Southeast Minnesota Chapter Field Advocate.

Cassandra Linkenmeyer, AFSP Minnesota Area Director, shared that “suicide is something that affects all of us. It does not discriminate based upon race, gender, economic status, or sexual identity. Most of us have been touched by suicide and it’s time for us to change the conversation. If our legislators will support the mental health parity legislation that is before them, I believe we will reduce the lives lost to suicide.”

The AFSP Minnesota 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.  

On average, 129 Americans died by suicide each day in 2017, and 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 Minnesota residents affected by suicide each year.

Suicide in Minnesota

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 15-34 in Minnesota, and the third leading cause of death for people aged 35-44. Suicide cost Minnesota a total of $749,527,000 of combined lifetime medical and work loss cost in 2010, or an average of $1,236,843 per suicide death. AFSP has two chapters in Minnesota.

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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