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.

Realizing the Promise of Mental Health and Substance Use Parity: New Tools for Navigating Mental Health Coverage


Bob and Patrick for web

On Wednesday, September 10, 2014 The National Council for Behavioral Health (NCBH) and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) held a congressional staff briefing sponsored by Senator Martin Heinrich entitled, “Realizing the Promise of Mental Health and Substance Use Parity: New Tools for Navigating Mental Health Coverage.” The briefing was held during Suicide Prevention Week and Recovery Month to highlight the importance of mental health parity in reducing the burden of mental illness and substance use for the one in four Americans living with these conditions.

How We End Suicide - By AFSP CEO Robert Gebbia


Since Robin Williams's death on August 11, 2014, approximately 3,000 Americans have died by suicide. Each year in the United States, suicide claims more than 39,000 lives -- more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined. That's one person every 13 minutes. And for each death, 25 others attempt suicide.

AFSP Attends NAMI’s Please Like Me Screening and Panel Discussion


On Tuesday, September 9th, 2014 AFSP Public Policy Associates Paul Almeida and Andrew Douglas attended a screening of the critically acclaimed television series Please Like Me put on by the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The series, aired on Participant Media’s Pivot TV Network, deals with issues any twenty something could face such as, in the recently aired second season, mental illness. 

AFSP Partners with Pennsylvania State Rep. Adolph for Press Conference Announcing New Suicide Training Bill


On Thursday, September 4, Pennsylvania State Rep. Bill Adolph (R-Delaware) held a press conference where he was joined by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to announce the introduction of the Matt Adler Suicide Prevention Continuing Education Act (HB 2461). Gary and Phyllis Adler, the Delaware County Crisis Connections Team, and co-sponsoring legislators from the region were also in attendance. 

President Obama Announces Executive Actions to Address Veteran and Military Suicide


At noon on Tuesday, August 26, 2014, President Barack Obama spoke at the American Legion’s 96th convention and outlined the Administration’s five priorities for reforming the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). One of those priorities is mental health and the President announced 19 new executive actions to improve the mental health of service members, veterans, and their families. Veteran and Military suicide prevention is one of AFSP's top public policy priorities and remains committed to working with the Administration, Congress, and other interested organizations to reduce the number suicides among our nation's veterans and military personnel. 

AFSP Attends 2014 Federal Bullying Prevention Summit


Secretary Duncan and AFSP

On Friday, August 15th, AFSP Vice President of Public Policy, John Madigan and Senior Manager of State Advocacy, Nicole Gibson attended the 2014 Federal Bullying Prevention Summit titled “Keeping Kids Safe: Opportunities and Challenges in Bullying Prevention.”  Hosted by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students in conjunction with the Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention, the summit expanded upon previous years’ goals to craft a national strategy to prevent bullying and focused on engaging private and public organizations committed to ensuring student safety.  The day-long event included plenary sessions on bullying trends, multi-tiered behavioral support frameworks and social and emotional learning, the perspectives of state and local education agencies, cyberbullying, and supportive school discipline. It also included youth-led focus groups and breakout sessions on state and federal laws and policies, a StopBullying.Gov demonstration, media guidelines, and hazing and teen dating violence.

Senate Passes Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014


After the House passed the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 on Wednesday, July 30; the Senate passed the measure on Thursday, July 31, 2014. The bill allows veterans to seek private care and adds $17 billion to the Department of Veterans Affairs to hire doctors to address long wait lists. 

House Passes Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014


On Wednesday, July 30, the United States House of Representatives passed the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014. AFSP applauds the House for their action to improve the health care, including mental health care, for veterans that need it.