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.

Challenging the Stigma of Mental Illness Through Photography


There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words, and since the early 20th century, photographers have captured “dramatic black-and-white images of the mentally ill” depicting “out-of-control – and often untreated – patients trapped in mental hospitals that were often more like prisons”. However, according to French photographer Jean-Robert Dantou, these images distorted the reality of the suffering of mentally ill. 

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Holds Hearing on Medicare Part D Program


The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing on “Medicare Part D: Measures Needed to Strengthen Program Integrity” on Tuesday, July 14, 2015. The hearing featured two witnesses, Ms. Ann Maxwell, Assistant Inspector General for Evaluations with the Office of Evaluation and Inspections, Office of Inspector General, Department of Health and Human Services, and Dr. Shantanu Agrawal, Director of the Center for Program Integrity at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

New Army Study Finds High Risk Groups for Suicide Attempt.


A retrospective cohort study found that newer enlisted soldiers with an educational level of less than high school were more likely to attempt suicide. The study reviewed records of nearly 10,000 suicide attempts among 1 million active-duty Army members from 2004 to 2009, during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Potential breakthrough in depression treatments - NIMH Director's Blog


This week in the National Institute of Mental Health Director’s Blog, Thomas Insel discussed a paper written by Ramirez and other MIT colleagues investigating how brain circuits can be involved in depression and subsequent treatments. The study used genetic engineering to define cells that would be activated by positive or rewarding experiences and tested them in mice. The cells were engineered to be responsive to light. 

Suicide Prevention – There’s an App for That


Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for those between the ages of 10-24 in the United States. In a time where teens and members of this age group are more tied to their smartphones than ever before, one of the best ways to combat suicide may be through their smartphones.