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.

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. 

Jason Flatt Act Passes in Texas


Texas is now the 16th state in the nation to pass the Jason Flatt Act, after Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 2186 into law. 

New Database from Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Institutes of Health May Help to Identify Veterans with a High Likelihood of Suicide


Suicide rates among veterans are significantly higher than the civilian population. This disparity led the Department of Veterans Affairs to begin compiling a database of veterans four years ago in an attempt to identify veterans with a high-risk to attempt suicide. The database was designed to distinguish patterns “in existing records using 381 variables, including medications, diagnoses, age, sex and a history of suicide attempts.” One of AFSP’s top policy priorities is preventing suicide among veterans.

22 Too Many, Veterans Preventing Veteran Suicide


Veterans Johnny Primo and Casey Gray recently started an Instagram Suicide Prevention page where other veterans were encouraged to contact them at any time if they were contemplating suicide. The page currently has 180 veterans willing to be lifelines for other veterans in need, and they have contact with a network of psychologists who can provide more professional assistance if needed.

Strides in Suicide Prevention


Americans are paying more attention to suicide prevention. Lawmakers are passing bills to improve mental health care for U.S. military veterans and service members. Hospitals and medical centers where vulnerable patients may seek care, whether in a therapist's office or the emergency room, are working to identify them sooner and keep them from falling through the cracks. State and local programs are expanding to reach more at-risk youth and address root causes of suicide. Here, experts, including AFSP's Vice President of Public Policy John Madigan, describe new approaches to targeting suicide and some encouraging signs of progress.