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.

House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Holds Hearing on “Creating Efficiency through Comparison: An Evaluation of Private Sector Best Practices and the VA Health Care System”

07/17/2014

House VA 7-16-14

On Wednesday, July 16th, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held a hearing entitled “Creating Efficiency through Comparison: An Evaluation of Private Sector Best Practices and the VA Health Care System.” Witnesses from the private sector shared what has worked best for them and how those experiences could be translated to the Veterans’ Health Administration. Some of their suggestions included increasing the facilities’ hours, give physicians more input, and collaborating more with the private sector facilities to gain space without extra leasing.

Senate VA Committee Probes Recent VA Actions

07/16/2014

Senate VA Hearing 7-16-14

On July 16, 2014, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee held a hearing, “The State of VA Health Care,” to investigate actions taken by the VA since the well-publicized discovery of scheduling irregularities and systemic access issues, as well as coming challenges for the VA to face.  AFSP was in attendance to monitor any discussion around mental health care and suicide prevention programs for our nation's veterans. 

AFSP Urges Senate Committee to Approve Funding for Military Suicide Prevention Research

07/15/2014

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) sent a letter today to the Senate Appropriation Defense Subcommittee Chair Richard Durbin and Ranking Member Thad Cochran seeking their action and support for an amendment to the FY 2015 Department of Defense Appropriations Bill, H.R. 4870, which will set aside funds for a study on the links between financial stresses and service member suicides. 

Washington Post Article Discusses Physician Suicides

07/15/2014

On July 15, 2014, The Washington Post published an article “When your doctor commits suicide, things get complicated.”  The author, family physician Pamela Wible, who has also given a TEDx talk to break the silence on physician suicide, highlighted several factors that contribute to the medical profession’s high rate of depression and suicide and laid out “etiquette rules” for addressing the issue.

Mental Illness Meets Violence in New York Jail

07/14/2014

The New York Times reports that brutal attacks by correction officers on inmates are common occurrences at the Rikers Island Correction Facility. An internal study completed by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, found that 129 inmates suffered “serious injuries” from altercations with correction department staff members between January 1st, 2013 and November 30th, 2013. Of the inmates serious injured, 77 percent had received a mental illness diagnoses. In 5 of the 129 cases, the beatings followed a suicide attempt. 

AFSP Submits Statement on Veteran Suicide Prevention

07/11/2014

House VA Suicide Hearing 7-10-14

On Thursday, July 10, 2014, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee (HVAC) held a hearing titled, “Service Should Not Lead to Suicide: Access to VA’s Mental Health Care.” AFSP submitted a statement for the record on the dangers that delayed appointments for veterans seeking mental health treatment pose to those veterans at risk for suicide. 

AFSP's Advocates Impact School Policy in Two States

07/03/2014

On June 26, 2014, AFSP's advocates celebrated legislative wins in two states. In Illinois, Governor Pat Quinn signed HB 5707, which requires school districts to adopt comprehensive anti-bullying policies, while in Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Corbett signed HB 1559, which requires that Pennsylvania schools adopt an age-appropriate youth suicide awareness and prevention curriculum.

AFSP Honors U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan with Allies in Action Award

07/03/2014

Secretary Duncan and AFSP

On Tuesday, June 10, 2014, representatives from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) presented U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan with the Federal Partner Allies in Action Award for leading efforts in the Department of Education to promote bullying prevention in schools across the United States.