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.

Real Mental Health Parity Means Access to Healthcare


More than 6 million people have signed up for health insurance under the affordable care act which extends coverage for mental health and substance use disorder treatment on par with coverage for physical health care. 

Senator John Walsh Introduces Legislation to Combat Veteran Suicide


Senator John Walsh, the first Iraq combat veteran to serve in the United States Senate, joined with organizations such as the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to introduce landmark legislation to combat suicides among veterans.

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Holds Hearing on the Shortage of Beds for Inpatient Psychiatric Care


On Wednesday March 26th, 2014, Chairman Fred Upton (MI-06) and Ranking Member Henry Waxman (CA-33) convened a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee to discuss how the shortage of beds for inpatient psychiatric care affects the seriously mentally ill, hospital care, and communities. The decrease in psychiatric beds of more than 90% since the 1950’s has left considerable question to where these mentally ill patients have ended up. 

Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs holds hearing on FY 2015 budget


On Tuesday, March 25, 2014, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (VA) held a hearing to discuss the fiscal year 2015 budget. Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) and Ranking Member Mark Kirk (R-IL) received testimony from VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and various undersecretaries including Dr. Robert Petzel, VA Undersecretary for Health.

Proposed Medicare Part D Drug Changes Are Scrapped


Yesterday, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it would not pursue a controversial proposal to remove antidepressants as a "protected class" under Medicare Part D at this time. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the National Health Council, and other chronic disease and mental health organizations submitted comments to CMS urging them to scrap the proposed rule.

Current Mental-Health Resources Fail Our Heroes - Commentary from Roll Call


In January, the Department of Veterans Affairs reported that suicide rates for younger veterans, ages 18 to 29, had increased significantly from 2009 to 2011. The suicide rate for male veterans increased by 44 percent, while the rate among female veterans increased by 11 percent.

Despite these alarming statistics, the VA found “no clear change” in the suicide rate of veterans using their own facilities.