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CHICAGO (June 7, 2016) – On average, one person dies by suicide every six hours in the state of Illinois. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the nation’s largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, is presenting the Allies in Action State Award to Representative Kelly Cassidy of Illinois’ 14th district for her efforts in helping to prevent suicide. The award will be presented to Representative Cassidy at a meeting on Tuesday, June 7 at her district office, 5533 North Broadway in Chicago. The Allies in Action Award is presented annually to members of Congress, state legislators, and organizational partners who have done exemplary work in preventing suicide.
“With leaders across our nation who are willing to sponsor legislation that enhances mental health and suicide prevention like Representative Cassidy, we will be much closer to reaching our AFSP goal of reducing the suicide rate 20 percent by the year 2025,” said Robert Gebbia, the CEO of AFSP.
“The most powerful tool for preventing suicides is hope. Giving people hope is a theme that underlies Representative Cassidy’s work in the Illinois General Assembly,” said Steve Moore, Co-Chair of the Illinois Chapter of AFSP. He added: “By putting Illinois at the forefront of preventing bullying in schools and the harmful effects of conversion therapy, Representative Cassidy has given countless youth self respect and hope that they will be able to follow their own path in life.”
Representative Cassidy has been the chief sponsor of several bills that have been signed into law that aim to improve mental health and prevent suicide. During the 2015-2016 session, she was the chief sponsor HB 0217, which now prohibits sexual orientation conversion therapy with minors (PA 99-0411). She also cosponsored SB 1793, which now requires school districts to enact policies on suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention (PA 99-0443). During the 2013-2014 session, she was chief sponsor of a school bullying prevention bill (HB 5707, now PA 98-0669) and cosponsor of a school cyberbullying prevention bill (HB 4207, now PA 98-0801); both bills were signed into law.
Suicide in Illinois
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-34 in Illinois. Suicide cost Illinois a total of $1.3 billion of combined lifetime medical and work loss cost in 2010, or an average of $1.1 million per suicide death. Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death overall in Illinois.
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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