A Message from the National Capital Area Chapter Board Chair

A Message from the National Capital Area Chapter Board Chair

Should you be visiting the National Area Capital Chapter (NCAC) website of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) due to a loss of a friend, loved one or colleague, you are not alone in reaching out for some sense of understanding, information, resource and/or support. Unlike many other leading causes of death, suicide continues to claim more lives each year.

If you are visiting this website because you are dealing with issues of your own, please seek medical help or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255), and know you are loved and cared about by your friends and family.

I only "happened" upon AFSP through a client, the client who I was with when Paul took his life. She too had been touched by suicide and wanted me to know about the Out of Darkness Walk taking place in Washington, DC. It has been that brief conversation that led me to become a field advocate and volunteer for AFSP in various capacities. I now serve as the Capital Chapter Board Chair.

The extraordinary involvement and commitment that our volunteers offer every day to the Chapter and AFSP has allowed NCAC to grow as a Chapter and expand our reach throughout the greater DC community.  In 2013, NCAC raised more than $350,000 by holding a very successful golf tournament, had the highest grossing Chapter Overnight Walk team in AFSP’s history, held three highly successful community walks, and had our 1st ever in home “sip event”.

In terms of education, NCAC had more than 90,000 participants attend one of more than 25 education and awareness events.  Events ranged from the annual Washington DC NBC 4 Health and Fitness Expo to a More Than Sad showing for more than 1,000 high school students.

NCAC continues to improve our Survivor Support offerings.  In 2013 we made several in home Survivor Outreach Program (SOP) visits.  The NCAC SOP program has more than 10 trained, qualified, and now experienced survivors who’ve made an in home visits.  The Chapter Lifekeepers quilt continues to grow, honoring our volunteer loved ones lost to suicide.

The National Capital Area Chapter continues to emphasize AFSP’s role supporting suicide prevention research at all events.  In 2013 we hosted our 1st Research Town Hall, with more than 60 attendees engaging with 3 prominent suicide prevention researchers. We plan to replicate this event this year, offering the community greater understanding of the research being funded thru AFSP.

We continued to improve our communications and media relations results in 2013.  In advance of the fall community walks we had volunteers on 3 radio talk shows, reaching new audiences in the greater D.C. area with AFSP’s message.   With volunteer support we produced a short community walk video during the DC walk which we’ll use to promote future walks and AFSP events in the coming year. We have an active presence in all areas of social media, including Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, furthering our reach within the community. 

Each of our volunteers will attest that they receive a great deal more than they give by their involvement with AFSP. It is through our support of NCAC that we gain a deeper understanding of depression and other causes that can lead to suicide.  We can make a difference in reducing the stigma of suicide, educate others and offer resources to those in need. I ask you to become involved, walk with us, attend one of our events and support the change and impact we are making.      

Thank You,

 

Vicki Johnson