I am so glad I chose to intern with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). I care tremendously about helping those with mental health issues, and as a psychology major, I came into this internship with a background in mental disorders and research. Interning with AFSP’s Public Policy Office has given me the opportunity to be a part of a more big-picture approach to helping those with mental illness.
As an AFSP public policy associate, I had a variety of responsibilities from tracking state legislation and compiling congressional contacts information to facilitating field advocate phone calls, in which I was able to reach out to those impacted by suicide and share with them a program they could get involved with that brings awareness to suicide prevention. I was also assigned to a project on the link between substance abuse and suicide, which allowed me to expand my research skills and contribute to the organization. Over the semester, I was able to attend many House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs and Armed Services Committee hearings and do write-ups on them for the AFSP website, which is something I really enjoyed doing.
I can honestly say that I do not think I could have had such a transformational experience with any other internship. I feel more prepared to succeed academically and professionally in the future because of my time here in Washington, D.C. My internship experience as a whole has allowed me to become more knowledgeable on local, state, and federal legislative issues related to suicide research, education, advocacy, prevention, and treatment. I learned so much from John, Trevor, and Nicole, and I cannot thank them enough. I value all of the wonderful feedback I received from them and will continue to reflect back on this incredible experience for years to come.