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State Capitol Days: How Our Volunteer Advocates Are Making a Difference

January 10, 2024 – 4 min read


Lifesaver symbols against a blue background

This year, in 2024, State Capitol Day events take place from January through May. Learn more anout State Capitol Days on our Public Policy Events page, and visit our Chapter Program Calendar to find an event near you. 

State Capitol Day events are hosted annually by AFSP chapters across the country. This year, events will take place from January through May, and thousands of our Volunteer Advocates will meet with legislators about how to prevent suicide and increase mental health care in their state. These meetings are a crucial opportunity for Advocates to establish personal connections with public officials, and to raise much-needed awareness about life-saving legislation and policy changes.

AFSP Advocates who make their voices heard at State Capitol Day events have helped bring about critical policy progress, including state laws funding 988 and crisis call centers; banning the practice of conversion therapy; and requiring suicide prevention policies, training, and resources in K-12 schools, college and university campuses, and for first responder and Veteran communities.

Below, you can read personal accounts from our Volunteer Advocates about how they make a difference at State Capitol Days. We hope you’ll join us at this year's events to share the message that suicide is preventable.

Training to Become a Volunteer Advocate for Suicide Prevention Felt Like a Gift

By Terri Lavely

"In January of 2016, I lost my 18-year-old nephew to suicide. The loss was devastating. Being an AFSP Volunteer Advocate has helped me process my own personal experiences, and be braver in standing up for my own needs, those of my family, our community, and all humans. We’re all in this together."

Suicide Prevention Advocate Perspectives: Why the New 988 Crisis Number Matters – A Conversation with Kirsten Krueger of AFSP South Dakota

By Stephanie Marburger, AFSP Public Policy Coordinator

"Kirsten helped to organize AFSP South Dakota’s first State Capitol Day event in 2018. On that day, AFSP South Dakota advocates were brought to the floor of the capitol building where members of both the Senate and House stood up to welcome them. Kirsten remembers the moment fondly."

Supporting Suicide Prevention Policy at Washington State Capitol Day

By Tim Krivanek

"When our 15-year-old daughter, Nina, died by suicide in September 2016, my wife Dawn and I could have hidden the cause of her death and remained silent. Instead, we chose to bring our story out of the darkness to help others."

AFSP State Capitol Day Events 2022: A United Voice for Suicide Prevention

By Taylor Kleffel, AFSP Senior Manager of State Policy

"While the culture and the political landscape differs in each state, and while each AFSP State Capitol Day is unique, through these individual events legislators from New York to Wyoming received the same critical education with a unified message that echoed across the country: EVERYONE can help prevent suicide."

Introducing AFSP’s Newest Public Policy Council Member: Beverly Goldberg

By Stephanie Marburger, AFSP Public Policy Coordinator

"In November of 2021, the Council welcomed Beverly Goldberg of Milwaukee, Wisconsin as its newest member. I recently spoke with Beverly about her experience as a loss survivor, a suicide prevention advocate, and an organizer with AFSP."

What It Means to Be a Suicide Prevention Advocate: Making a Difference in My State

By Angela Perry

"In 2018, I did not know what it meant to be a suicide prevention advocate. I didn’t think my voice or my story as someone with lived experience mattered. In the last three years, I have discovered just how powerful (and simple, and frustrating, and ultimately rewarding) it can be to be an advocate, fighting for legislation we know may save lives."

Advocating for Change: AFSP’s 2021 State Capitol Day Events

By Chelsey Dumond, AFSP Senior Manager, Public Policy Events and Projects

"During the 2021 State Capitol Day season, our AFSP advocates made a difference for suicide prevention! In total, our advocates supported 174 pieces of suicide prevention and mental health-related legislation, sent over 2,200 emails to elected officials, met virtually with hundreds of state legislators across the country, and saw 10 of those state bills become law thus far."

Making Mental Healthy Parity a Priority in Arizona

By Cori Frolander, AFSP Arizona Area Director

"In Arizona, Senate Bill 1523 and House Bill 2764 are collectively known as “Jake’s Law.” It is named for Ben and Denise Denslow’s son Jake, who took his own life at the age of 15, less than three months after insurers had declined a request for a longer inpatient stay. This, in spite of it being recommended by Jake’s doctors. The Denslow’s fully understand the urgent need for mental health parity. This is why they founded the JEM Foundation in 2016, in Jake’s memory."

Bringing Prevention to the Church


"The Rev. Dr. Robert D. Flanagan first became involved with AFSP in 2011 while working as School Minister and Chair of the Theology Department at Brooks School in North Andover, Massachusetts. The school had lost a recent graduate to suicide. Father Bob quickly recognized the need for bringing suicide prevention education and awareness to the school community."