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.

New Report says Indiana Second in Nation in Youth Suicide Attempts


A new report released Monday by the Indiana Youth Institute and the Annie E. Casey Foundation found that Indiana's rate of teenagers who considered suicide in the last year is the worst in the nation, and the rate of Indiana teenagers attempting suicide is second highest in the country.

Mother Draws Connection From Son’s Football Injury To His Suicide 15 Years Later


Debra Pika, from Wisconsin, sued the nation’s largest youth football organization last week, claiming that her 25 year old some completed suicide due to the brain damage he incurred while playing football through the Pop Warner league. Joseph Chernach, Debra’s son who passed away in 2012, suffered from dementia and chronic traumatic encephalopathy brought on by concussions he suffered from while playing in the Pop Warner league from 1997 to 2000. 

Mental Health America releases a report entitled “Parity or Disparity: The State of Mental Health in America”


This month, Mental Health America released a report entitled “Parity or Disparity: The State of Mental Health in America”. The collection of data shows the prevalence of mental illness in all 50 states (plus the District of Columbia), how many people have access to mental health care and insurance, and the statistics as to who struggles to access healthcare for a mental illness.

Satcher-Kennedy: How to fix mental health system


Former Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher and Congressman Patrick Kennedy had an op-ed published in USA Today on how to go about fixing the mental health system in America. AFSP VP of Public Policy John Madigan and 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 on Tuesday, February 3.

Marion, Illinois VA Medical Center Raises Awareness on Suicide Prevention


The Clay Hunt Veterans Suicide Prevention Act, passed on February 3rd, aims to improve mental health care access and suicide prevention resources for veterans. VA Medical Centers, such as the Marion VA center, provide the necessary outreach programs and prevention care to save veterans lives. 

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.