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American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Hosts 35th Annual Lifesavers Gala

May 16, 2024 – 6 min read


Gala honorees smile for photos

Jacoby Shaddix of the legendary rock band Papa Roach to receive Public Education Lifesaver Award  

NEW YORK (May 16, 2024) - On May 23, 2024, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) will hold its 35th annual Lifesaver’s Gala at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. AFSP is a leading suicide prevention organization in the United States. Amongst the distinguished awardees which include researchers, mental health advocates and entertainers, AFSP will honor Jacoby Shaddix, lead singer from the legendary rock band Papa Roach, with the Public Education Lifesaver Award. Rock icon Chris Daughtry will be presenting the award.  

In 2023, Papa Roach renamed their hit song “Leave a Light On” to “Leave a Light On (Talk Away The Dark),” after AFSP’s “Talk Away the Dark” campaign, which depicts a direct conversation about suicide, helps people identify warning signs, offers resources for opening a dialogue about suicide and mental health and for connecting to help. Papa Roach made a $155,000 donation to AFSP and pledged perpetual royalties from the song’s use to the organization. During their Revolutions Live Tour, the band surprised the audience at the Nashville concert with a live performance of the song “Scar” with Daughtry joining as a special guest. The performance was made available for streaming and all royalties from “Scars (feat Chris Daughtry) (Live)” will also be donated to AFSP in perpetuity. 

“The mission of AFSP to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide is one that is close to my heart,” said Papa Roach’s Shaddix. “Music has always been a way for me and the band to bring hard topics to light and to let people know that they are seen and not alone. It’s been rewarding to work with AFSP on our song "Leave A light On (Talk Away The Dark) to spread suicide prevention and mental health awareness, and to hear from our fans how much this message resonates. The band and I are humbled to be recognized for our efforts to let those who are struggling know that there is hope and help available. 

All proceeds from the Lifesaver’s Gala support AFSP’s suicide prevention research, public education, advocacy efforts, and programming for the loss survivor community. Hosted by comedian and content creator, Tefi Pesoa, the event will honor those working to save lives and raise funds to end this leading cause of death. 

“The Lifesaver’s Gala is an opportunity to recognize and reflect on the progress made by outstanding individuals and organizations in preventing suicide,” said AFSP Chief Executive Officer Robert Gebbia. “Each honoree and attendee have devoted their time, talents and resources to this cause. Preventing suicide is a tremendous team effort and each individual contribution adds up to real impact that saves lives.” 

This year’s awardees include: 

Public Education Lifesaver Award 

Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach 

Papa Roach is a two-time GRAMMY-nominated, multi-platinum-selling leader in the world of alternative hard rock music, who in 2020 celebrated the 20th anniversary of their breakthrough album Infest. The band is a globally recognized heavyweight of the genre.  Papa Roach has long called attention to mental health and suicide prevention through their lyrics and outreach to fans, since their acclaimed and influential mega-hit song “Last Resort.” Their most recent contribution to mental health advocacy is the current single “Leave a Light On (Talk Away the Dark),” which encourages listeners to reach out to their friends who may be struggling.  

By sharing lifesaving information on how to recognize the warning signs and connect people to help, and artistically expressing the dark and difficult emotions so many people experience, Jacoby Shaddix and Papa Roach have used their music to raise understanding and be a beacon of hope to people across the world. 

Public Service Lifesaver Award 


USAA is a financial services company devoted exclusively to serving military members, Veterans, and their families. This year, AFSP is honoring USAA with the Public Service Lifesaver Award for its remarkable suicide prevention initiative, Face the Fight, launched in 2023 with founding partners Humana Foundation and Reach Resilience, an Endeavors Foundation. 

Face the Fight has united a growing coalition of corporations, government liaisons, foundations, nonprofits, and Veteran-focused organizations to raise awareness and support for preventing Veteran and military suicides. Through generous grants made by its network of coalition members, Face the Fight is able scale evidence-based interventions and connect Veterans and military members with both peer and clinical support, as well as expanded training for mental health clinicians. The initiative has also funded screening services and clinical interventions for military members at risk of suicide. 

Humanitarian Lifesaver Award 

David Huntsman, President and COO, Huntsman Foundation 

Christena Huntsman Durham, Executive Vice President, Huntsman Foundation 

In 2010, David and Christena's beloved sister Kathleen Huntsman died of a drug overdose. This death compelled the Huntsmans to open up about the family's personal connection to mental health and suicide prevention. The Huntsman family has a long legacy of giving back to the community with David and Christena dedicating much of their efforts to transforming health care for their Utah community, and for communities across the country. Their historic gift of $150 million established the Huntsman Mental Health Institute (HMHI) at the University of Utah. Through its collaboration with researchers, clinicians, educators, and organizations across Utah, HMHI is able to provide world-renowned care to thousands of Utah children, teens, adults, and families. In 2022, HMHI made a founding gift of $15 million to the Ad Council's $65-million, multi-year mental health initiative. As part of the initiative, the Huntsmans' gift was used to develop the "Love, Your Mind" campaign, which offers inspiration, community, and educational resources to promote open dialogue and proactive approaches to mental wellness. 

Lifetime Achievement Research Award 

Barbara Stanley, PhD (1949-2023, Awarded Posthumously) 

Dr. Barbara Stanley was a trailblazing clinical psychologist who dedicated her life to advance learning and interventions to improve mental health. She specialized in the treatment of individuals with borderline personality disorder, depression, and self-harm.  With her colleague Dr. Gregory Brown, Dr. Stanley developed the widely used Safety Planning Intervention. It is implemented in emergency departments, inpatient and outpatient facilities, Veterans Affairs, and crisis hotlines and has no doubt played a role in saving countless lives. She has also mentored several young investigators on fMRI studies examining the interpersonal dysfunction dimension of borderline personality disorder, genetics studies of borderline personality disorder, and treatment engagement trials with suicidal individuals.   

Dr. Stanley was a force in her field authoring and editing more than 200 articles and book chapters, was editor-in-chief of the Archives of Suicide Research and served on several editorial boards. She was a past chair and member of the American Psychological Association Committee on Human Research, and also served as a standing member of the Adult Psychopathology and Disorders of Aging NIH CSR study section. Besides serving on the faculty in Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, she held numerous appointments across private and government sectors. At AFSP, she served on both the Research Grant Committee and Scientific Council. 

Annual Research Award 

Jeff Bridge, PhD 

Dr. Jeff Bridge is director of the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research in the Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. He is receiving this year's Annual Research Award for his outstanding recent work related to youth at risk for suicide. His research focuses on the risk factors contributing to suicide and suicidal behavior in young people and improving the quality of care they receive. He has received multiple AFSP grants for his work including a 2006 Young Investigator Award and 2011 AFSP Early Career Researcher Award in 2011. He was also a senior investigator for a 2014 AFSP Linked Standard Research Grant. 

Dr. Bridge is also the Nationwide Foundation Endowed Chair of Innovation in Behavioral Health Research, and professor of pediatrics, psychiatry, and behavioral health at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. At AFSP, Dr. Bridge serves as a Scientific Advisor, member of the Research Grants Committee, and Scientific Council member.  

The 2024 gala chair is Cara McNulty, president of Behavioral Health and Mental Well-being for CVS Health.  

View highlights of the 2023 Gala here. Tickets are available online.  Learn more about the 35th Annual Lifesaver’s Gala sponsors and event details here. 


The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide, including those who have experienced a loss. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through public 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, DC, AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states, DC and Puerto Rico, 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, YouTube, LinkedIn and TikTok.    

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