Noah – University of Rochester
Public Policy Associate
I entered my AFSP Policy Associate experience not knowing exactly what to expect. As a public health major with a focus in mental health, I was amazed by the work AFSP did on a national level but knew little about their policy priorities and the amount of influence they had within the suicide prevention legislative space. I soon found out that AFSP is a crucial player within the mental health policy space, and I was given a chance to be a part of this.
During my time at AFSP I was able to work on a variety of projects. I worked within legislative databases like Fiscal Note and Congressplus, tracked legislation and amendments, attended hearings and briefings regarding a variety of topics, and helped with several major assignments regarding federal and state priorities.
I was also assigned the responsibility of creating a public issue brief on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and its state crisis centers. With landmark legislation regarding a three-digit suicide hotline coming out, I got to witness first-hand the process of advocating for policy within a space I love. Creating this issue brief required me to work collaboratively, absorb and synthesize a wealth of information, and constantly keep myself up to date with the current status of the National Lifeline. This was one of the most intense and incredible opportunities I’ve been able to work on, and I learned so much about the topic at hand.
Not only was the work assigned to me during my internship substantive and educational, the AFSP D.C. team always made sure to take my fellow intern Evan and I to any meetings they could. I was able to be a part of the National Behavioral Health Council’s Hill Day and speak to legislators within the Capital, attend multiple Mental Health Liaison Group Meetings, and participate in the very first D.C. State Capital day, which was a hands-on and exciting experience.
I am beyond grateful for all that John, Taylor, Chelsey, Nicole, Connor, Natalie, and my fellow intern Evan have given me. I received an incredible education on a variety of policy positions, got to experience some amazing new things, and above all I was welcomed as a member of the AFSP D.C. team, and not as simply an intern. This was by far the most fun I’ve ever had, and I’d recommend it to anybody.