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.

Governor Deval Patrick (MA) Signs Anti-Bullying Bill

04/24/2014

Gov. Deval Patrick has signed a bill designed to build on the state’s 2010 anti-bullying law by strengthening protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students and students with disabilities.

Fort Hood shooting renews attention to mental health

04/09/2014

Loree Sutton, a psychiatrist, member of the AFSP Public Policy Council, and retired Army Brigadier General, told msnbc that drawing a line between combat and non-combat injuries obscures the reality of military conflict and its effects. “Whether an individual actually engages in combat, whether it’s shooting or being shot at, just to be deployed on a forward operating base, the entire time you’re there you’re exposed to fear and death. You’re witnessing it,” she said. “There’s an impact there.”

Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense Holds Hearing on Defense Health Programs

04/09/2014

On Wednesday April 9th, 2014, Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL) convened a hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee to discuss defense health programs. In light of the recent events at Fort Hood, it was especially timely that the health subcommittee met to focus on the wellbeing of our service members. 

U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Holds Hearing on Primary Care Access

04/09/2014

On Wednesday April 9th, 2014, Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Ranking Member Richard Burr (R-NC) convened a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging in order address the lack of availability of primary care access and the challenges that arise in creating an effective workforce in the medical field of primary healthcare. 

Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Holds Hearing on “Indian Education Series: Indian Students in Public Schools – Cultivating the Next Generation”

04/09/2014

On Tuesday April 9, 2014 Chairman John Tester (D - MO) and Vice Chairman John Barrasso (R - WY) convened a hearing of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs for the hearing on “Indian Education Series: Indian Students in Public Schools – Cultivating the Next Generation”. The topic of discussion was a proposed a 4% increase of funding for public schools on Indian reservations, which would be approximately $64 million to Cultivate the Next Generation.  

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health Holds Hearing on the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2013

04/03/2014

On Thursday April 3rd, 2014, Chairman Fred Upton (MI-06) and Ranking Member Henry Waxman (CA-33) convened a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to discuss H.R. 3717, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. If passed, this bill, among other things, would: reform the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant Program, make adjustments to HIPAA and FERPA, create an Assistant Secretary for Mental Health, make changes to Justice Department regulations that impact those with a mental illness, increase funding for certain Medicaid providers and the National Institutes of Health, and reform existing mental health programs at SAMHSA.

The Excellence in Mental Health Act is Passed

04/01/2014

It is official; the Excellence in Mental Health Act has now been signed into law! Having been passed by both the Senate and House of Representatives, the final legislation was signed by President Obama on April 1st, 2014. 

Pennsylvania HB 1559: Prevent Suicide in PA

03/28/2014

AFSP supports the passage of PA House Bill 1559, which would require schools to adopt youth suicide awareness and prevention policy and regular training for professional educators serving students in grades 6-12.  We are asking residents of Pennsylvania to help bring HB 1559 across the finish line.  Click the title to learn how you can help.