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Advocates Urge Nebraska Lawmakers to Be The Voice for Youth Suicide Prevention

12 Mar 2018 — 2 min read

BY AFSP

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Running for My Son

LINCOLN, NE (March 12, 2018) – Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and it is the tenth leading cause of death in Nebraska. On Wednesday, March 14, 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 their support for the creation of the Collaborative School Behavioral and Mental Health Program (LB 998, introduced by Rep. Walz).

“Educating our state Senators about mental health and suicide prevention is an important step to protecting the lives of the people of Nebraska. Our advocates come to the Nebraska State Capitol Day to tell their personal stories and their connection to suicide and mental health. This event allows them the opportunity to meet with their Senators, and let them know that we need increased resources for mental health to reduce the number of suicides in the state,” said Aileen Brady AFSP Nebraska Chapter Board Member & Public Policy Chair.

LB 998 aims to help students who are living with a mental health condition by providing the students  with preventative care or treatment as needed. The bill would the Collaborative School Behavioral and Mental Health Program, which would allow each Educational Service Unit to hire a social worker as needed in their area. Social workers would then train teachers and other school personnel and work with parents, schools, behavioral and mental health providers, and other community resources in order to provide services. To fund the program, the bill also creates the Collaborative School Behavioral and Mental Health Fund.

AFSP Nebraska advocates are part of a larger national movement of AFSP volunteer advocates who will be visiting nearly 40 state capitols across the United States in 2018 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/.

Suicide in Nebraska

On average one person dies by suicide every thirty-six hours in Nebraska. In 2016 we lost 246 Nebraskans to suicide. Among residents ages 10-14 suicide ranks as the leading cause of death; suicide ranks third amongst those age 15-34 and fourth among those ages 35-54. Across the state four times as many people die by suicide annually than by homicide.

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, and 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.

Contact:  Aileen Brady abrady@commall.org, 402-341-5128

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