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.

Clay Hunt veterans suicide prevention act passes in Senate, will head to White House


Legislation designed to help combat suicide by U.S. military veterans passed in the Senate 99-0 on Tuesday, setting the stage for it soon to become federal law. 

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention praised the bill’s passage, saying it was a victory not just for veterans, but the larger effort to prevent suicide.

“AFSP has set the bold goal of reducing the annual suicide rate 20 percent by 2025, and it’s legislation like the Clay Hunt Act that will make it happen,” said the foundation’s vice president, John Madigan.

AFSP Attends State of the Union in Mental Health and Addiction


Kennedy Forum State of the Union

On Tuesday, February 3, AFSP Vice President of Public Policy, John Madigan, and AFSP Manager of Federal Policy, Trevor Summerfield, attended the first annual State of the Union in Mental Health and Addiction held at the National Press Club. 

Former U.S. Representative Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.) and Dr. David Satcher, former Surgeon General, announced the formation of the Kennedy Center for Mental Health Policy and Research at an event in Washington, D.C. 

AFSP Utah Moves to Push Suicide Prevention Bill


Although suicide is a pressing concern for any demographic, it is the leading cause of death for youth ages 10-17 in Utah. After losing her own daughter to suicide, Utah mother Laura Warburton has become one of the area’s most prominent activists for HB209, a bill proposed by Representative Justin Fawson. AFSP is supporting this bill and AFSP Utah is actively working to move it forward.

West Virginia Hospital Creates Suicide Bereavement Support Group


Dr. Sam Lonich, a psychologist in West Virginia, saw an unmet need for a suicide bereavement support group in Fayette, Washington, And Greene counties. As a staff member at the Monongahela Valley Hospital, Lonich has past experience working in private practices with suicide survivors.  As his area of interest and expertise, Lonich believes creating a support group will provide a sense of community for survivors and families. With over 40,000 Americans dying by suicide annually, large communities are affected by the loss of these individuals. 

Lakeville, Minnesota Mayor to Focus on Suicide Prevention


Mayor Matt Little of Lakeville, Minnesota will be launching a community initiative to prevent those in the Twin City Metro area from taking their own lives. The suicide of a high school student in School District 194 prompted Little to begin working with the city police and mental health professionals to provide city resources for suicide prevention. Police chief Jeff Long reported that 38 suicide attempts and 5 deaths by suicide occurred in Lakeville in 2014. 

Vermont Suicide Prevention Center’s Federal Funding Set to Expire in Summer 2015


The Vermont Center for Suicide Prevention, a branch of the Center for Health and Learning in Brattleboro, had previously been granted approximately $479,000 by the federal government, which is set to expire during the summer of 2015. The center does receive $100,000 in state grants, but is requesting $750,000 in state appropriations in order to keep the center in existence.

AFSP Attends the Presentation of the 2014 Torrey Advocacy Commendation Award to the Honorable Tim Murphy


Murphy 1-27-15

On January 27, 2015, representatives from the Public Policy Department of AFSP attended the Presentation of the 2014 Torrey Advocacy Commendation Award to the Honorable Tim Murphy, followed by a panel discussion regarding how Murphy’s bill, the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act”, which will assist first responders, mental health professionals, and families of those who suffer from severe mental illness.