Policy News & Updates

AFSP works hard to create a world in which people no longer die by suicide. While we understand that suicide is personal and complicated, we also know that thoughtful public policies can reduce the number of suicides.

To help make that happen, we work closely with hundreds of well-informed and passionate advocates, all committed to educating officials at every level of government about suicide, and persuading them to act. 

To ensure that public officials and the general public have the information they need to make informed decisions about suicide, we provide the links below. These links will take you to news and information about advocacy efforts and public policies related to suicide prevention. The links also connect to the work we’re doing here at AFSP, in our Advocacy and Public Policy office, and to our powerful national network of suicide prevention advocates.

AFSP Attends Roundtable Discussion at the Center for Native American Youth


The Center for Native American Youth (CNAY) hosted a roundtable discussion on ways to improve the collaboration efforts between tribal groups, the federal government, and ally organizations who come into contact with issues that affect Native youth across the country. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Manager of Federal Policy Trevor Summerfield attended the event along with Public Policy Associates Ian Hudson and Sarah Moore. Retired Senator Byron Dorgan, the founder of CNAY, White House staff, and officials from the federal government were also in attendance.

AFSP Attends the 2015 Warrior-Family Symposium



AFSP Public Policy Advocates Ian Hudson and Sarah Moore attended the 2015 Warrior-Family Symposium on Wednesday, September 09, 2015. The event was cosponsored by the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) and was held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. The event featured several guest speakers in coordination with two discussion panels.

Recognizing signs can help reverse rising suicide rate


As someone who lost a parent to suicide, Jessica van der Stad, area director of the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention’s San Diego chapter, knows the majority of people who die by suicide show some sort of warning sign.

#SOSChat brings Suicide Prevention Week into social media


Tuesday, September 8, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention participated in a livechat on Twiter in association with other mental health resources, advocates, and individual social media users. Stamp Out Stigma  (@StampStigma) hosted the chat with Jill Harkavy Friedman, PhD., Vice President of Research, who represented the AFSP. The livechat served as a way to educate people on the warning signs of suicide, how individuals can make a difference, what language we can use to address suicide, and what links to follow in order to find online resources.  

Saving Lives from Suicide


This month marked a major milestone for suicide prevention when the Golden Gate Bridge board of directors approved the first funding toward construction of a suicide barrier on the San Francisco landmark. Since its opening in 1937, the bridge has become the single most frequently used suicide spot in the United States and second most used site in the world, with nearly 1,600 people estimated to have died from jumping off the bridge. The $76 million construction of a steel net that was approved last year is just what is needed to prevent future deaths. A contract to begin building will likely be awarded in March.

New research points to suicide risk factors that may be overlooked


A new study presented at the 28th European College of Neuropsychopharmocology Congress in Amsterdam found that the DSM-V, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual used by psychologists to identify mental health issues, did not account for risk factors that may be a predictor of suicide. Incomplete diagnostic standards may lead health professionals to overlook patients who are at risk for suicide but who do not fit the expected mold.

Navy crew bans together to address suicide


On August 31, 2015, sailors aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt participated in their own version of the “Out of the Darkness” walks that support suicide prevention across the nation. The sailors walked to both remember those whom they have lost to suicide and to raise awareness for depression and suicide amongt armed forces members. 

Maine's Hidden Public Health Crisis: Suicide


Maine Attorney General Janet Mills says the number of drug overdose deaths for 2015 is on track to be similar to last year - the worst on record. She calls that a crisis. But while the state battles drug overdoses, another public health issue is taking even more lives in Maine: suicide.

Murphy faults 'failed mental health system' for journalists' killings


Representative Tim Murphy, who has been pushing mental health reform legislation for several years, attributed Wednesday’s deadly shooting of the two Virginia journalists to “the aftermath of a failed mental health system” and said he is calling on House leaders to take up his reform bill when Congress returns from August recess. AFSP currently supports Representative Murphy's H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act.