About Our Chapter

Welcome. We are the South Carolina chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

The grassroots work we do focuses on eliminating the loss of life from suicide by: delivering innovative prevention programs, educating the public about risk factors and warning signs, raising funds for suicide research and programs, and reaching out to those individuals who have lost someone to suicide.

As a part of AFSP’s growing nationwide network of chapters, we bring together people from all backgrounds who want to prevent suicide in our communities. Families and friends who have lost someone to suicide, vulnerable individuals, mental health professionals, clergy, educators, students, community/business leaders, and many others energize our chapter.

The AFSP South Carolina Chapter was officially chartered in October of 2008, and serves the state of South Carolina.  The primary role of the chapter is to bring suicide prevention programs and supportive services developed at our national office to our local communities. To do this, we invite participation in our work by individuals, nonprofit organizations, state agencies, and corporations. We are in the fight with the AFSP goal to reduce suicide 20% by 2025 in our nation and in our state. Join us in lifesaving work in South Carolina.

The South Carolina sponsors these AFSP signature events each fall -- the Out of the Darkness Community Walks in Charleston, Columbia, Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach, Aiken and the Upstate -- and seven International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day programs in November.  For more information about AFSP programs and South Carolina Chapter activities, please check Upcoming Events.   

AFSP is the leading private supporter of suicide research. We have funded almost $20 million in scientific investigations on the causes and prevention of suicide, and the treatment of those at risk for suicide. We continue to fund new studies into the genetic, neurobiological and behavioral factors that contribute to suicide, and into testing interventions aimed at reducing suicidal behavior and suicide deaths. We are currently completing a landmark bereavement study on treating complicated grief among survivors of suicide loss. Funds for research are made possible in part by AFSP’s Out of the Darkness Community walks.

To reduce the stigma associated with depression and suicide, education projects continue to be implemented to increase awareness about prevention, warning signs and the psychiatric disorders most often responsible for suicide.  Survivors are being helped in healing through access to information sought in the wake of loss and by being empowered to become active in suicide prevention.

The Board of Directors is dedicated to increasing suicide prevention efforts in South Carolina. To this end, we reach out to work collaboratively and productively with other organizations and institutions. Our diverse members represent the professional domains of mental health, business, education, social work, research and research evaluation.  Most members have been touched by suicide, either personally or professionally. Several board members are available for educational presentations to community groups and organizations. Board meetings are held in February, April, June, August, late September and December. New board members are installed at the Annual Meeting held in December.  

South Carolina Chapter 2015 Board of Directors

Executive Committee

Vanessa Riley, Chair

Amy LaClaire, PsyD, L.P., President

Tom Robinson, Treasurer

Lucinda Davis, Secretary

Meera Narasimhan, M.D., Scientific Advisory Board Member

Board of Directors 

Tia Brock, MBA, MA, MT-BC

Melissa Craft, LISW-CP, LMSW

Lucinda Davis, RN

John Denny

Dennis Gillan

Kerry Lachance, Ph.D., LPC/S, CRC

Monica McConnell, Ph.D.

Valerie White

Founding Board Members

John A. Brown, Jr.

Dottie Cronise

Nancy M. Dunbar

C. Morgan Gable

Sondra Keller, M.D.

Michele Lyerly

Meera Narasimhan, M.D.

Joel D. Philp

Helen Pridgen

J. Eric Skidmore