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Advocates to Visit Springfield to Speak with Legislators About Suicide Prevention

7 May 2018 — 2 min read

BY AFSP

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SPRINGFIELD, IL (May 7, 2018) – On average one person dies by suicide every six hours in the state of Illinois. To help prevent this tragic loss of life, volunteer advocates from the Illinois chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention are visiting the state capitol for the fifth year in a row. On Tuesday, May 8 advocates will meet with members of the Illinois General Assembly about preventing suicide in schools (HB 4658) and increasing access to behavioral health care through parity in insurance coverage (HB68).

“AFSP’s advocates have a powerful story to tell their state legislators. All are constituents who have lost someone to suicide or experienced thoughts of suicide themselves,” said Steve Moore, Co-Chair of the AFSP Illinois Chapter. “These bills, which address suicide prevention for our children and promote mental health for all Illinois residents, can save lives and enhance our quality of life.”

Suicide Prevention Training for K-12 Educators, HB 4658 [Rep. Manley/Sen. Koehler]

The Illinois School Code currently requires that school personnel who work with pupils from grades 7 through 12 receive training to identify the warning signs of mental illness and suicidal behavior in youth and in appropriate intervention and referral techniques.  However, there is no requirement for the frequency of that training.  HB 4658 strengthens this law by:

  • requiring that the training be received at least every two years,
  • expanding the requirement to school administrators as well as licensed school personnel, and
  • expanding the requirement to personnel who work with students in kindergarten through grade 12.

Enforcing Behavioral Health Parity, HB 68 [Rep. Lang]

Federal and Illinois law require insurance carriers to provide coverage for mental health and substance use conditions that has financial requirements and treatment limitations that are comparable to those for medical conditions (“parity”). Nevertheless, those with behavioral health needs are often denied coverage or pay higher out-of-pocket costs. HB 68 clarifies insurance carriers’ obligations and requires them to provide better transparency to regulators and the public. HB 68 provides for better accountability by clarifying the enforcement authority of the Department of Insurance and Department of Healthcare and Family Services and facilitating enforcement.

Suicide in Illinois

Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death overall in Illinois, with 1,415 Illinois residents dying by suicide in 2016. For people aged 15-34 in Illinois, suicide is the third leading cause of death. Those living in non-metropolitan areas of Illinois had a 50% higher rate of suicide than those living in a metropolitan area.

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, AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. AFSP celebrates 30 years of service to the suicide prevention movement. 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.

Contact: Steve Moore 312-391-8056 smoore200400@yahoo.com

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