Suicide Prevention Advocates Storm the Capitol in Salt Lake

           Contact: Taryn Hiatt ([email protected])      

Suicide Prevention Advocates Storm the Capitol in Salt Lake

SALT LAKE CITY, UT (February 15, 2019) – Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and it is the seventh leading cause of death in Utah.  On Tuesday, February 19, advocates from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, will arrive at the state capitol to meet with lawmakers to encourage them to prioritize suicide prevention initiatives for Utah residents, including support of HB 58 creating the position of an overdose and suicide fatality examiner and the Opioid and Overdose Fatality Review Committee; HB 209 enacting the Extreme Risk Protective Order Act; and HB 17 expanding access to firearm safety and suicide prevention materials and education for firearms owners, ranges, and retailers.  Advocates will also be asking for support for legislation to prohibit conversion therapy or sexual orientation change efforts with minors.

The AFSP Utah State Capitol Day will include a press conference at 1:00 P.M. in the Kletting room in the Senate building of the Capitol.  State Representative Steve Eliason (District 45-Sandy), State Representative Stephen Handy (District 16-Layton), and Troy Williams, Executive Director of Equality Utah, will speak on behalf of suicide prevention legislation and initiatives in Utah.  

“Suicide is the leading cause of death for those ages 10-17 in our state. Last year we lost 600 adults to suicide. Without education and prevention efforts we cannot make a positive impact on these numbers. As someone who has lost too many friends, colleagues, and patients to suicide it is a fight that we can’t take on alone. Legislative efforts offer a framework for us to work within, providing a voice for survivors and letting those who have lost someone to suicide know they are not alone,” said Tori Yeates, AFSP Utah Chapter Board Chair.

The AFSP Utah 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 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 Utah Chapter 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, one hundred twenty-nine (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 Utah 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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