Suicide Prevention Advocates Gather in Providence for First Annual State Capitol Day

              Contact: Shamera Simpson ([email protected])  

PROVIDENCE, RI (April 8, 2019) – Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and the 11th leading cause of death in Rhode Island. On Tuesday, April 9, advocates from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, will arrive at the state capitol to urge lawmakers to prioritize suicide prevention initiatives for all Rhode Islanders, including support of H 5069 that would require the Department of Education to develop a mental health curriculum for schools and would require school districts to include mental health in the curriculum for all 7th grade students.

“I lost my close friend of 22 years to depression on June 1st, 2015. Johnnie was only 38. Suicide is the 4th leading cause of death in RI for ages 35-54. Johnnie was the true definition of a friend- someone who is by your side and never leaves your side and definition of a brother-one related to another by common ties or interest. I cannot bring my friend Johnnie back but what I can do is make it my life mission to make mental health a priority and to make a difference in his memory,” said Missy Ames AFSP Rhode Island Chapter Board Co-Chair.

The AFSP Rhode Island 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.

AFSP Rhode Island advocates 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 Rhode Island 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.

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