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.

In Unit Stalked by Suicide, Veterans Try to Save One Another - New York Times


Almost seven years after the deployment, suicide is spreading through the old unit like a virus. Of about 1,200 Marines who deployed with the 2/7 in 2008, at least 13 have died by suicide, two while on active duty, the rest after they left the military. The resulting suicide rate for the group is nearly four times the rate for young male veterans as a whole and 14 times that for all Americans.

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas Adds Suicide Prevention to List of Topics Covered in Trainings


On September 21, 2015, in recognition of National Suicide Prevention Month, Attorney General Hector Balderas added suicide prevention to the list of topics covered in educational trainings offered across the state by the Office of the Attorney General. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in New Mexico among young adults age 15-24 and the tenth leading cause of death nationally.

AFSP Attends Event with Brian Wilson for the Change Direction Campaign at the National Press Club


The Campaign to Change Direction hosted a panel discussion on September 17 to continue in their mission to destigmatize the experience of mental illness. The event focused on the upcoming film “Love & Mercy,” which tells the story of Beach Boy Brian Wilson’s professional and personal journey in music and mental illness; panel members included Brian Wilson, his wife Melinda Wilson, Paul Dano who stars in the film, and Bill Pohlad, director. Melissa Fitzgerald, actress and Senior Director of Justice for Vets, moderated the discussion. Members of AFSP’s public policy team Trevor Summerfield, Manager of Federal Public Policy, and Associates Ian Hudson and Sarah Moore were also in attendance.

AFSP attends POLITICO briefing on state innovation and the Affordable Care Act (ACA)


Public Policy Associates Ian Hudson and Sarah Moore attended a health care briefing hosted by POLITICO on September 16, 2015. Representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services and from Medicare and Medicaid services discussed ways in which states have worked with the federal government to design coverage and exchange systems specific to their own population needs.

President Barack Obama Proclaims September 10, 2015, as World Suicide Prevention Day.


A proclamation by United States President Barack Obama sets September 10, 2015 as World Suicide Prevention Day and calls upon citizens, government agencies, organizations, health care providers, and research institutions to raise awareness of the mental health resources and support services available in their communities and encourage all those in need to seek the care and treatment necessary for a long and healthy life.

AFSP Attends Roundtable Discussion at the Center for Native American Youth


The Center for Native American Youth (CNAY) hosted a roundtable discussion on ways to improve the collaboration efforts between tribal groups, the federal government, and ally organizations who come into contact with issues that affect Native youth across the country. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Manager of Federal Policy Trevor Summerfield attended the event along with Public Policy Associates Ian Hudson and Sarah Moore. Retired Senator Byron Dorgan, the founder of CNAY, White House staff, and officials from the federal government were also in attendance.

AFSP Attends the 2015 Warrior-Family Symposium



AFSP Public Policy Advocates Ian Hudson and Sarah Moore attended the 2015 Warrior-Family Symposium on Wednesday, September 09, 2015. The event was cosponsored by the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) and was held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. The event featured several guest speakers in coordination with two discussion panels.

Recognizing signs can help reverse rising suicide rate


As someone who lost a parent to suicide, Jessica van der Stad, area director of the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention’s San Diego chapter, knows the majority of people who die by suicide show some sort of warning sign.

#SOSChat brings Suicide Prevention Week into social media


Tuesday, September 8, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention participated in a livechat on Twiter in association with other mental health resources, advocates, and individual social media users. Stamp Out Stigma  (@StampStigma) hosted the chat with Jill Harkavy Friedman, PhD., Vice President of Research, who represented the AFSP. The livechat served as a way to educate people on the warning signs of suicide, how individuals can make a difference, what language we can use to address suicide, and what links to follow in order to find online resources.  

Saving Lives from Suicide


This month marked a major milestone for suicide prevention when the Golden Gate Bridge board of directors approved the first funding toward construction of a suicide barrier on the San Francisco landmark. Since its opening in 1937, the bridge has become the single most frequently used suicide spot in the United States and second most used site in the world, with nearly 1,600 people estimated to have died from jumping off the bridge. The $76 million construction of a steel net that was approved last year is just what is needed to prevent future deaths. A contract to begin building will likely be awarded in March.