NASHVILLE, TN (February 6, 2020) – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and the ninth leading cause of death in Tennessee. On Wednesday, February 12, advocates from the Tennessee Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, will meet with lawmakers and urge their support of HB 159, which extends and amends the Suicide Prevention Act of 2018, and HB 1797, which requires the Department of Veterans Services to provide suicide prevention training to employees who directly interact with Veterans.
"AFSP volunteer advocates play a critical role in elevating the issue of suicide prevention in the minds and hearts of our state legislators. I’ve presented suicide facts and figures and told my personal story of suicide loss to many members of our Tennessee legislature. They listen, for which I am immensely grateful. In this way, AFSP can continue to have an impact in influencing legislation that will save lives throughout our state and local communities," said Mark Patterson, AFSP Tennessee Chapter Volunteer Field Advocate.
The AFSP Tennessee Chapter and its advocates thank the legislature for passage of SB 1175/HB 1354 in 2019, which now requires each state institution of higher education to develop and implement a suicide prevention plan and provide the plan to students, faculty, and staff at least once each semester. AFSP-Tennessee also thanks the legislature for recognizing teen suicide as a health crisis in Tennessee with the passage of HJR 1.
The AFSP Tennessee Capitol Day is a special day for all who have a connection with or a personal story around the topic of suicide. Attendees will meet with their legislators to share their stories about why they participate in this advocacy effort, giving a human face to this important public health problem. Advocates hope that by sharing their stories, they will help lawmakers understand that investments in mental health and suicide prevention can save lives.
AFSP Tennessee Chapter advocates are part of a larger national movement of AFSP volunteer advocates who will visit state capitols across the United States in 2020 to bring best practices in suicide prevention to legislators and their staff. To learn more about AFSP’s advocacy efforts, visit here: https://afsp.org/our-work/advocacy/.
On average, 132 Americans died by suicide each day in 2018, and upwards of 90% of those individuals had a diagnosable mental health condition at the time of their death. AFSP volunteers will urge state lawmakers to be the voice for the thousands of residents across the state affected by mental health conditions and suicide each year.
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 a Public Policy Office in Washington, D.C. AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia 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.