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.

Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ) Calls for Increased Funding for Suicide Prevention and Outreach


The House Appropriations Committee met April 20, 2014 to discuss two fiscal bills which would provide funding to Veterans for the 2015 Fiscal Year. One of those bills,the“Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015” (H.R. 4486) gained a lot of attention on the House floor, with the topic of Veterans mental health as a main concern.  H.R. 4486 includes a proposed $20 million increase for suicide prevention and outreach. 

National Council for Behavioral Health Launches Mental Health First Aid for Veterans


On April 24, 2014, the National Council for Behavioral Health launched the Mental Health First Aid for Veterans program at the National Press Club with several key speakers in attendance to speak on behalf of the program. This Health First Aid program would train every day individuals to recognize and respond to the warning signs of mental health and would provide them with the resources to better assist veterans in the community. 

Governor Deval Patrick (MA) Signs Anti-Bullying Bill


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


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


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


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.