Contact: Anna Eidem (Anna.Eidem@k12.sd.us)
Advocates to Urge Lawmakers to Prioritize Suicide Prevention in Pierre
PIERRE, SD (February 6, 2020) – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and the ninth leading cause of death in South Dakota. On Thursday, February 13, advocates from the South Dakota 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 future legislative efforts to implement education and training objectives of the state’s most recent 2020-2025 Suicide Prevention Plan, including bringing suicide prevention policies and protocols to South Dakota schools and training health professionals in suicide assessment, treatment, and management.
"I speak up for suicide prevention in South Dakota to be the voice for those we've lost to suicide and those of us left behind wondering what we could have done to save our loved ones. We cannot save lives without adequate prevention, education, research, and intervention strategies. I fight for my brother, Mike Peterson, my students I've lost, and those with lived experience who are fighting hard to stay alive every day," said Anna Eidem, AFSP South Dakota Field Advocate and Board Member.
The AFSP South Dakota 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 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 Dakota 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.