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Advocates Support Youth Suicide Prevention Efforts in Lincoln

5 Mar 2020 — 3 min read

BY AFSP

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Advocates Gather for Mental Health Advocacy Day in Columbia

Contact: Cindi Horning (chorning@afsp.org, 531-389-4481)

LINCOLN, NE (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 in Nebraksa. On Wednesday, March 11, advocates from the Nebraska Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, will meet with lawmakers to urge their support of legislation that enhances youth mental health and suicide prevention efforts in schools, protects LGBTQ youth, and promotes firearm safety statewide.

“When AFSP advocates meet with State Senators on March 11th they will share their personal stories of losing a loved one to suicide and the impact smart public policies for mental health and suicide prevention can have in reducing the rate of suicide in Nebraska. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for Nebraskans ages 10-34.  We all have a role to play in preventing suicide and creating healthy communities, and I hope our Senators will join us in saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide,” said Aileen Brady, AFSP Nebraska Chapter Treasurer, Public Policy Chair, and Leadership Chair.

Advocates will be asking legislators to support: LB 488 requiring school districts to incorporate age-appropriate substance use prevention and mental health education into their curriculum; LB 1001 requiring ID cards for middle school, high school, and college and university students to include crisis hotline numbers; LB 725 creating the School Mental Health Resources Fund and providing for reimbursement for school mental health expenditures; LB 568 establishing a Mental Health First Aid training program for teachers and other school personnel; and LB 167 prohibiting individuals holding a credential under the Uniform Credentialing Act from advertising for or providing conversion therapy to minors.

In Nebraska, over 45% of all suicides are completed with a firearm, and nearly 80% of all firearm deaths in the state are suicides. Advocates will therefore be urging support for suicide prevention provisions within LB 816, including the addition of suicide prevention content to handgun training and safety courses, and for LB 58 which would create a legal process for Extreme Risk Protection Order in Nebraska and decrease access to lethal means for persons experiencing a suicidal crisis.

The AFSP Nebraska Capitol Day is a special day for all who have a connection with or a personal story around the topic of 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 Nebraska Chapter 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.

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