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Advocates to Be the Voice for Suicide Prevention in Phoenix
PHOENIX, AZ (February 14, 2019) – Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and it is the eighth leading cause of death in Arizona. On Tuesday, February 19, advocates from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, will arrive at the state capitol to meet with lawmakers to encourage them to prioritize suicide prevention initiatives for Arizonan residents, including support of SB 1468 requiring suicide prevention training for school guidance counselors, teachers, principals, and other school personnel who work with students in grades 6-12; SB 1047/HB 2658 prohibiting the use of conversion therapy or sexual orientation change therapy with minors; and HB 2488 requiring the Department of Health Services to annually compile a report on veterans suicides in the state.
“State capitol day is important for so many survivors of suicide loss and for those personally struggling because it gives us a chance to connect with legislators and tell real stories from around Arizona. As a provider in Arizona as well as a suicide loss survivor, I am excited to help field advocates use their voices to help drive change in policy related to mental health and suicide prevention. We are fostering relationships with policy leaders to highlight that mental health is just as important as physical health,” said Priscilla Brown, AFSP Arizona Chapter Board Member & Advocacy Chair.
The AFSP Arizona State Capitol Day is a special day for all who have a connection with or a personal story around the topic of suicide. Volunteers will meet with their state legislators and share their stories about why they participate in this advocacy effort, giving a human face to this important health problem. Advocates hope that by sharing their stories, they will help legislators understand that state investments in mental health and suicide prevention can save lives.
AFSP Arizona Chapter advocates are part of a larger national movement of AFSP volunteer advocates who will be visiting over 40 state capitols across the United States in 2019 to bring best practices in suicide prevention to state legislators and their staff. To learn more about AFSP’s advocacy efforts, visit here: https://afsp.org/our-work/advocacy/.
On average, one hundred twenty-nine (129) Americans died by suicide each day in 2017, and 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 Arizona residents affected by 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 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.