Suicide Prevention Advocates Raise Their Voice for Mental Health in Columbus

 Contact: Bill Hesse ([email protected], 614-542-9867) 

Suicide Prevention Advocates Raise Their Voice for Mental Health in Columbus

COLUMBUS, OH (May 13, 2019) – Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and the eleventh leading cause of death in Ohio. On Thursday, May 16, 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 and mental health initiatives for all Ohio residents, including support of HB 123 to require suicide prevention education for students in grades 6-12, SB 130 to prohibit the practice of conversion therapy with minors, and SB 19 to create a process for Extreme Risk Protection Orders in Ohio.

“Our participants are all community members that have a vested interest in preventing suicide. Each has been affected by suicide through the loss of a family member or friend, they struggle personally, or they support someone who struggles with mental health. Each of their personal stories share the true impact that mental health conditions and suicide have on families, schools, the workforce and communities in Ohio. We know through research that suicide can be prevented and mental health conditions are treatable when we are informed and proactive. We hope, with the support of our community leaders, to make mental health a priority in Ohio to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide,” said Rusty Lockett, AFSP Ohio Chapter Board Chair.

The Ohio 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 Ohio 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 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 Ohio 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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