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.

House Energy and Commerce Holds Hearing on 21st Century Cures Initiative


On Thursday, May 14, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on the 21st Century Cures Initiative. AFSP Public Policy Associate Morgan Hammonds, and Manager of Federal Policy, Trevor Summerfield, were in attendance. AFSP has worked with partners, including the National Health Council, on the 21st Century Cures Initiative as it shows promise to increase the availability of treatments for those with mental illness.

'Ceeci's Law' gains momentum


A bill gaining momentum in New York was highlighted on Wednesday, May 6, by activists advocating in coordination with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Bill A.7180/S.3912 would establish procedures for school safety in the event of a student's expressed intention to commit suicide. The bill is sponsored in the Senate by John Flanagan, R-East Northport, the chair of the Education Committee.

Activists push for suicide prevention measures


Trish Washburn is trying to make sure other parents don't have to face the same nightmare she did when her young daughter talked about committing suicide. She spoke during a meeting Wednesday of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) in the state Capitol to advocate for better safety measures as part of AFSP-New York's 1st Annual State Capitol Day. 

Youth Suicides More Frequent in Pine Ridge Indian Reservation


Native Americans already face an unusually high suicide rate, but for the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the numbers are only increasing. Since December, nine individuals between the ages of 12 and 24 have taken their own lives; this is nearly double the number of lives lost in all of 2013. According to the Indian Health Service (IHS), another 103 have attempted suicide from December to March. Local EMS workers report being called to the scene of an attempted several times each day.

Congress Examines Legislation to Improve 21st Century Cures


On Wednesday, 4/30, The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing to examine legislation relating to the 21st Century Cures initiative. The Cures Initiative was introduced by Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Congresswoman Dianna DeGette (D-CO) in 2014; it is designed to explore the research and development processes of developing new drugs and treatments for diseases, conditions, and illnesses across the country. The subcommittee has spent the past year gathering information from researchers, medical professionals, academicians, and others with expertise related to these fields in order to draft a bipartisan proposal to improve healthcare.

Trio of causes brings famous songstresses to Capitol Hill


Three famed female singers — Barbra Streisand, Cyndi Lauper and Judy Collins — were all in Washington, DC for separate causes on April 29. Collins was in town promoting her upcoming June 10 event for the Congressional Spouses for Suicide Prevention and Education, an initiative of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. 

Maryland General Assembly Approves “Lauryn’s Law”


The Maryland General Assembly has approved a bill called “Lauryn’s Law”, which requires school counselors to undergo trainings to recognize the signs of mental illness in students. The bill is named after a 15 year old girl from Prince George’s County who took her own life whose mother requested the help of the school counselor, who never intervened.