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Statement from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

22 Apr 2021 — 3 min read


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It Was Okay to Say It

NEW YORK (APRIL 22, 2021) – Today the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention released this statement offering mental health best practices for those impacted by the recent Derek Chauvin verdict:

“The Derek Chauvin verdict brings much-needed accountability for violence against the Black community, however the events surrounding this moment incited stress and anxiety among a community grappling with the deaths of George Floyd and many others, as well as the daily impact of systemic racism. Recently, the CDC declared racism a serious public health threat, indicating that social determinants of health linked to race “have life-long negative effects on the mental and physical health of individuals in communities of color.” While recent provisional data from the CDC on suicide deaths for the year 2020 indicates an overall year-over-year decline of 5.6%, early data from some states show an increase in suicide rates among the Black community. 

“The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention stands vehemently against racism and is committed to addressing the disparity in mental healthcare access, suicide prevention resources, and related research impacting the Black community,” said Robert Gebbia, CEO, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “It is essential that we do the hard work of confronting racism, while protecting the mental health of the Black community – especially at moments such as these, when stress and anxiety can be increased, and previous trauma can be reactivated.”

Anyone who is experiencing stress and anxiety related to systemic racism should know that they are not alone, that there are people and resources available to help, and that there are proactive steps they can take to protect their own mental health and that of their loved ones:

  • Share resources for the Black community with those you know.
  • Have open, honest conversations with someone you trust. While it can be extremely difficult to open up about experiences of racism, sharing your feelings and experiences with a trusted confidant is one of the most powerful things you can do for your mental health.
  • Likewise, reach out to friends and family to ask how they are doing. Respect their choice if they are not ready to share their feelings with you and offer to listen if they are.
  • Limit your intake of the news and turn it off when you have the information you need.
  • Plan activities that make you feel good, mentally and physically: get outside, exercise, do a hobby you enjoy, and get plenty of sleep.
  • Reach out to a medical professional when needed.

We are encouraged by the way individuals and communities have come together over the past year to offer support in the wake of George Floyd’s death and the COVID-19 pandemic, by the increasingly open dialogue about mental health, and by the proliferation of telehealth services which improve accessibility of care.”

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 an Advocacy office in Washington, DC, 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 FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube. 

Contact: Alexis O’Brien, 347-826-3577, [email protected]


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