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.

Mental Illness Meets Violence in New York Jail


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


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


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


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.

Mental Health Parity Now Law of the Land


Patrick Kennedy Web

The final federal rules regarding medical treatment for mental disorders went into effect on July 1, 2014. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2008, is now law in the United States.

Montana Researchers Studying Suicide Causes Hit Roadblocks


Montana’s Suicide Review Team is the first of its kind in the nation. At the 2014 Montana Conference on Suicide Friday, Dr. Leonard Lantz, adult psychiatrist who chairs the Suicide Review Team, addressed the roadblocks that the Team is running into.