On Sept. 10, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin, along with the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention—a network of 200 public and private sector organizations—unveiled a new National Strategy for Suicide Prevention.
The report details new approaches to better identify people at risk for suicide—with renewed focus on those in the military and veterans—and outlines national priorities for reducing the number of suicides over the next decade.
AFSP was involved through its participation on several the Action Alliance Task Forces and provided feedback on the draft strategy during its development.
“We applaud the release of this new roadmap for suicide prevention in our nation and its goal of dramatically reducing loss of life from suicide over the next 10 years,” AFSP Executive Director Robert Gebbia said. “With this goal in mind, the focus needs to shift to full implementation of the strategy, which includes having the necessary resources and the involvement of both the private sector and public sectors. Our organization is dedicated to playing a major role.”
In conjunction with report, the federal government will provide $55.6 million in grants this year for state and local suicide prevention programs and will increase staff at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK).
A national outreach campaign is also being launched to urge people to seek help, and a new Facebook feature will enable users to report suicidal comments. Those who post a suicidal comment will receive an email from Facebook encouraging them to call the National Lifeline or to click on a link to begin a confidential chat session with a crisis worker.
Suicide is currently the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. (Click here for more facts and figures.) According to the report, certain populations are at increased risk, including those with mental and substance abuse disorders, American Indians and Alaska Natives, men in midlife and older men, and military members and veterans.