Contact: Helen Pridgen ([email protected], 803-552-9318)
COLUMBIA, SC (March 5, 2020) – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and the eleventh leading cause of death in South Carolina. On Wednesday, March 11, advocates from the South Carolina Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, will join Mental Health America South Carolina and NAMI South Carolina for the annual Mental Health Advocacy Day. As part of the event Governor McMaster will be speaking at 10:00 a.m. in the Capitol Rotunda.
Throughout the day, AFSP-South Carolina advocates will meet with lawmakers to urge their support for H 4773 to require the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number (1-800-273-8255) be put on all identification cards for students attending public and charter middle and high schools (grades 7-12) and public and private colleges and universities. Advocates will also be urging support for H 3257 to strengthen existing laws regarding student mental health education.
The Mental Health Advocacy Day is a special day for all who have a connection with or a personal story around the topic of mental health and suicide. Attendees will meet with their legislators to share their stories about why they participate in this advocacy effort, giving a human face to this important public health problem. Advocates hope that by sharing their stories, they will help lawmakers understand that investments in mental health and suicide prevention can save lives.
AFSP South Carolina advocates are part of a larger national movement of AFSP volunteer advocates who will visit state capitols across the United States in 2020 to bring best practices in suicide prevention to legislators and their staff. To learn more about AFSP’s advocacy efforts, visit here: https://afsp.org/our-work/advocacy/.
On average, 132 Americans died by suicide each day in 2018, and upwards of 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 residents across the state affected by mental health conditions and suicide each year.
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 and the District of Columbia 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.