Madeline – University of Maryland

Public Policy Associate

As a freshman in college, I began to explore collegiate mental health while obtaining health services at my university. This led me to consider how I could help improve students’ experiences in obtaining health services on-campus, through work with student organizations. As a Sondheim Public Affairs Scholar at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, I am interested in how individuals can shape social policies. Throughout my internship with the AFSP, I have been able to explore how advocacy can shape public policies related to suicide prevention and mental health.

During the annual AFSP Advocacy Forum, I was able to meet fellow AFSP advocates, as well as attend Capitol Hill visits with the Maryland AFSP chapter. Throughout my internship, I worked with the AFSP team to hold meetings with congressional staff on legislation that pertains to mental health and suicide prevention, including on subjects such as veterans mental health.  I have also been able to monitor hearings and debates on issues ranging from community health, to the opioid epidemic. Gaining the firsthand experience and interactions with policymakers has provided me with insight into the federal policymaking process, and the role of advocacy groups in supporting these efforts.

I would also like to recognize the invaluable collaboration and dedication of AFSP advocates, and my colleagues. In the future, I hope to continue exploring the role that mental health and suicide prevention have in domestic policy, including how they can inform housing and economic policies to support individuals.