Policy News & Updates

AFSP works hard to create a world in which people no longer die by suicide. While we understand that suicide is personal and complicated, we also know that thoughtful public policies can reduce the number of suicides.

To help make that happen, we work closely with hundreds of well-informed and passionate advocates, all committed to educating officials at every level of government about suicide, and persuading them to act. 

To ensure that public officials and the general public have the information they need to make informed decisions about suicide, we provide the links below. These links will take you to news and information about advocacy efforts and public policies related to suicide prevention. The links also connect to the work we’re doing here at AFSP, in our Advocacy and Public Policy office, and to our powerful national network of suicide prevention advocates.

University of Maryland Officials React to Proposed Virginia bill on Suicide Prevention

02/19/2015

Gary Pavela, the former director of student conduct at the University of Maryland, is in favor of a Virginia bill that would require parental notification from a public university health center if a student exhibits “suicidal tendencies”. Pavela acknowledges that mental health officials have a limited amount of time to spend per student, which is not the case with parents. In order to get students the help that they need and to find a solution that caters to an individual’s history, parents should be notified of the issue at hand, states Pavela.

New Report says Indiana Second in Nation in Youth Suicide Attempts

02/17/2015

A new report released Monday by the Indiana Youth Institute and the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that Indiana's rate of teenagers who considered suicide in the last year is the worst in the nation, and the rate of Indiana teenagers attempting suicide is second highest in the country.

Mother Draws Connection From Son’s Football Injury To His Suicide 15 Years Later

02/10/2015

Debra Pika, from Wisconsin, sued the nation’s largest youth football organization last week, claiming that her 25 year old some completed suicide due to the brain damage he incurred while playing football through the Pop Warner league. Joseph Chernach, Debra’s son who passed away in 2012, suffered from dementia and chronic traumatic encephalopathy brought on by concussions he suffered from while playing in the Pop Warner league from 1997 to 2000. 

Mental Health America releases a report entitled “Parity or Disparity: The State of Mental Health in America”

02/10/2015

This month, Mental Health America released a report entitled “Parity or Disparity: The State of Mental Health in America”. The collection of data shows the prevalence of mental illness in all 50 states (plus the District of Columbia), how many people have access to mental health care and insurance, and the statistics as to who struggles to access healthcare for a mental illness.

Satcher-Kennedy: How to fix mental health system

02/04/2015

Former Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher and Congressman Patrick Kennedy had an op-ed published in USA Today on how to go about fixing the mental health system in America. AFSP VP of Public Policy John Madigan and Manager of Federal Policy Trevor Summerfield attended the first annual State of the Union in Mental Health and Addiction held at the National Press Club on Tuesday, February 3.

Marion, Illinois VA Medical Center Raises Awareness on Suicide Prevention

02/04/2015

The Clay Hunt Veterans Suicide Prevention Act, passed on February 3rd, aims to improve mental health care access and suicide prevention resources for veterans. VA Medical Centers, such as the Marion VA center, provide the necessary outreach programs and prevention care to save veterans lives. 

Clay Hunt veterans suicide prevention act passes in Senate, will head to White House

02/03/2015

Legislation designed to help combat suicide by U.S. military veterans passed in the Senate 99-0 on Tuesday, setting the stage for it soon to become federal law. 

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention praised the bill’s passage, saying it was a victory not just for veterans, but the larger effort to prevent suicide.

“AFSP has set the bold goal of reducing the annual suicide rate 20 percent by 2025, and it’s legislation like the Clay Hunt Act that will make it happen,” said the foundation’s vice president, John Madigan.