This summer I interned for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Public Policy office. I felt very lucky to get such an important internship after just finishing my first year of college and after my experience was over I felt even luckier having spent my summer doing the work that I did. As a political science major at the University of Pittsburgh I found the work I did at the AFSP incredibly interesting; the experience of doing policy work on Capitol Hill was invaluable, especially with the seasoned guidance of the Public Policy Office team. I did legislative research, sat in on congressional briefings and hearings, and shook a lot of hands in my three month span as an intern; at one point I was ten feet away from Joe Biden giving a speech at a small military suicide prevention event. I got so much more out of my internship experience than I thought upon starting, which attests to the caliber of organization that the AFSP is.
I also felt so engaged with my work because it was backing such an important cause. Constantly working towards real solutions to prevent suicide really made me feel like my work was worthwhile and afterwards I felt that I spent my summer not only learning but making a difference. I learned a lot of vital information about suicide prevention that I will have for the rest of my life, because after this internship I know that I will always be involved with mental health policy in this country’s government.
I recommend this internship to anyone with an interest in public policy or government who wants to utilize their time to contribute to a great cause. I wouldn’t trade my summer at such a great office, with intelligent people, and a very learning experience for anything.