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Suicide Prevention Advocates Urge Lawmakers to Fund Suicide Prevention Efforts Across the Commonwealth
BOSTON (April 8, 2019) – Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and the 12th leading cause of death in Massachusetts. On Wednesday, April 10, advocates from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention (MCSP), will arrive at the state capitol to encourage lawmakers to support a $1.12 million increase (over FY19 amounts) for the FY20 Department of Public Health budget line item for suicide prevention (4513-1026). Funds from the suicide prevention line item continue to support a wide range of suicide prevention, intervention and postvention efforts across the Commonwealth, including services targeted for veterans, the elderly, LGBTQ populations, and youth.
“Strengthening mental health is essential to all residents of Massachusetts. The 35% rise in the suicide rate since 1996 means we have to spend more to raise awareness, reduce stigma, and lower the suicide rate. The Commonwealth spent less than $1 per person in FY18 on suicide prevention. I’m going to Beacon Hill to share my family’s story with the goal of raising that number to save lives every day,” said Nancy Farrell, AFSP Massachusetts Chapter Board Chair and National Public Policy Council Chair.
The Massachusetts State Capitol Day is a special day for all who have a connection with or a personal story around the topic of suicide. Volunteers will meet with their state legislators and 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 legislators understand that state investments in mental health and suicide prevention can save lives.
Advocates from AFSP’s Massachusetts chapters are part of a larger national movement of AFSP volunteer advocates who will be visiting over 40 state capitols across the United States in 2019 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/.
On average, 129 Americans died by suicide each day in 2017, 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 Massachusetts residents affected by 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 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.