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Advocates to Florida Lawmakers – We All Have a Role to Play in Preventing Suicide
TALLAHASSEE, FL (February 25, 2020) – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and the eighth leading cause of death in Florida. On Thursday, February 27, advocates from the Florida Chapters 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: SB 706/HB 939 to strengthen the Office of Insurance Regulation’s ability to enforce mental health parity laws; SB 180/HB 41 to prohibit licensed counselors and medical providers from engaging in conversion therapy with minors; SB 104/HB 687 to establish the Florida Veterans’ Care Coordination Program; and SB 7012 to enhance several existing suicide prevention and mental health laws, including strengthening training requirements for physicians, nurses, and school personnel and implementing evidence-based suicide deterrents on future infrastructure projects.
A press conference will be held on Thursday, February 27, from 11:00 – 11:30 a.m. on the 22nd Floor of the Capitol Building. Representative Emily Slosberg, who sits on the Health & Human Services Committee and represents District 91, will speak specifically to the importance of supporting of HB 939 -
Insurance Coverage Parity for Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders. Representative Slosberg will be joined by Rodney Moore, Assistant Secretary for Substance Abuse and Mental Health with the Florida Department of Children and Families and Ashley Bloom, an AFSP Florida Field Advocate and Southwest Florida Chapter Secretary, to speak about the impact suicide has in the State of Florida and what can be done to save lives.
“Suicide rates, both in Florida and nationally, have continued to steadily increase with our state experiencing rates higher than the national average. Research has shown that suicide is preventable with the right treatment and plan. It is vital to champion efforts in Florida for more education, treatment, and programming to help eliminate stigma and bring down our rate of suicide,” said Ashley Bloom, AFSP Southwest Florida Chapter Secretary.
The AFSP Florida 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 Florida 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.