2014 Advocacy Forum

Advocacy Forum 2014

Refresh this page throughout the day or follow live updates on Twitter at #AFSPForum14 or on Facebook.

February 27, 2014 — 7:57 PM EST

Nancy Farrell

Nancy Farrell speaking at tonight's Allies in Action Award Banquet

AFSP honored its 2014 Allies in Action Award winners at a reception held at the Reserve Officers Association's Top of the Hill Banquet and Conference Center. The annual reception brings together mental health professionals, suicide prevention allies, congressional leaders, and state and national partners. Award recipients are recognized for their dedication and leadership efforts in suicide prevention and education.

For a full list of the Allies in Action Award recipients and a description of their work to prevent suicide, click here.

To view the talking points and presentation slides from the 2014 Advocacy Forum, click here.

February 27, 2014 — 9:30 AM EST

Capitol Hill Advocacy Day 2014

AFSP's Advocates Gather on Capitol Hill

Today, 250 advocates from all 50 states will “Take the Hill” as part of AFSP’s 2014 Advocacy Forum. Advocates and volunteers will meet with members of Congress and their staff to share their personal stories, educate them about suicide prevention and mental health, and push for policies and legislation that can prevent suicide. The Advocacy Forum's focus this year is educating Congress members and staff about the three ways they can help prevent suicide:

  • Increased funding for suicide prevention research
  • Ensuring mental health parity is a reality through access to health care
  • Fully Funding the National Violent Death Reporting System to provide timely, informative, and accurate data for suicide prevention programs and research centers the country

You can follow the movements of all of AFSP’s advocates throughout the day on Twitter by using #AFSPForum14.

February 26, 2014 — 5:30 PM EST

Tom Insel

Dr. Tom Insel, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health

Dr. Tom Insel, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, addressed the 2014 AFSP Advocacy Forum on suicide prevention research alongside Dr. Christine Moutier, Chief Medical Officer of AFSP. Dr. Insel discussed the recently released Prioritized Research Agenda for Suicide Prevention. 

The Agenda recommendations were the result of a three-year study by the Research Prioritization Task Force (RPTF) of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. The report lays out six prioritized approaches for allocating funds and monitoring future suicide research to ensure that available resources target research with the greatest likelihood of reducing suicidal ideation and behavior. These six approaches include: 

  1. Research examining why people become suicidal to discover models that explain contagion as well as resilient healthy social connections among at-risk groups and to determine if processes that reduce risk conditions (e.g., insomnia, addiction, agitation, pain, etc.) also mitigate suicide risk.
  2. Research looking at which interventions are effective and what prevents individuals from engaging in suicidal behavior. This includes identifying feasible and effective, fast acting interventions and finding interventions for the highest risk groups in care or community settings. 

Specific detailed information can be found at www.suicide-research-agenda.org.

February 26, 2014 — 3:23 PM EST

Loree Sutton

Loree Sutton, M.D., Brigadier General, US Army (Ret.), Founder & Co-Director of Threshold GlobalWorks

Loree Sutton, M.D., Brigadier General, US Army (Ret.) and Founder and Co-Director of Threshold GlobalWorks, offered her insights during the lunch portion of AFSP’s 2014 Advocacy Forum on Wednesday.

Dr. Sutton looked back on how AFSP has made instrumental change in the areas of Military and Veteran suicide prevention. She credited AFSP's role in overturning the Presidential condolence letter policy that refused letters of condolence to families of service members who died by suicide in a combat zone advocating for increased funding for mental health services provided to military personnel and veterans and rescinding a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act forbidding field commanders and medical personnel from asking about firearms in an at-risk service member's home.

Dr. Sutton concluded with a call to action for AFSP and its advocates to continue fighting for our veterans and military personnel so that our nation’s heroes will receive the quality mental health care treatment they have not only earned but also deserve, and to continue all of our efforts to prevent suicide.

February 26, 2014 — 1:44 PM EST

Rep. Patrick Kennedy

Rep. Patrick Kennedy speaks at AFSP's 2014 Advocacy Forum

The Honorable Patrick J. Kennedy, Former United States Representative from Rhode Island and Co-Founder of One Mind for Research, gave the keynote address, Implementing Mental Health Parity, on Wednesday morning during AFSP's 2014 Advocacy Forum.

Mr. Kennedy shared his personal story of overcoming mental illness and addiction and described how the Mental Health Equity and Addiction Treatment Act passed the Congress and was signed into law in 2008.

Mr. Kennedy rallied those in attendance who shared their personal stories of overcoming the silence and stigma surrounding suicide. He reminded advocates that more work must be done to ensure full implementation of a law that could enhance the lives of countless Americans and save those that may be most at risk for suicide.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention thanks Mr. Kennedy for his passionate remarks that fired up the advocates who will be meeting with members of Congress and their staff tomorrow during their visits on Capitol Hill. 

February 26, 2014 — 9:37 AM EST

Opening Advocacy

Today, Wednesday, February 26, 250 advocates, volunteers, and staff gathered to kick off the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's 2014 Advocacy Forum in Washington, DC with a "Participant Shout Out."

Attendees introduced themselves to one another and shared their personal stories and why they are advocating for suicide prevention over the next three days.

Stay tuned throughout the day for more updates and if you are on twitter, join the conversation by using and following #AFSPForum14.