A Message from the Chairman of the Board

Message

Message from the Chairman of the  Board of Directors:

Thank you for visiting the Alabama Chapter website of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). I, realize that you are probably visiting this website due to the loss of a friend or loved one, and should that be the case, I am truly sorry and understand what you are going through. We lost our 18- year-old son Matt in August of 2006 and I have found, through the resources of AFSP, a better understanding of depression and other causes that can lead to suicide.

If you happen to be 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.

The Alabama Chapter originated in 2006, with our first Out of the Darkness community walk in Birmingham. Our walks have been in the top 5 walks nationwide every year and have provided funds for many important suicide prevention products for our stat. Notably, in 2010, we provided suicide prevention DVD’s to every public and private high school and college in the state of Alabama at no charge. Alabama was the first state to have this resource system wide and as a result, our chapter was awarded the Top Chapter in the nation for s010 along with an Excellence in Education award.

Our major initiative for 2011 was to provide suicide prevention training to all health care professionals that care for our military personnel in Alabama at no charge. Recognizing that we have lost more soldiers to suicide than combat in the current conflicts, it is our resolve to assist in helping those who have served our country. We held eight workshops across the state, and trained several hundred mental health and primary care providers in suicide prevention designed specifically for soldiers. Much of the training was done by Dr. Craig Bryan, a psychologist with the Air Force based in Utah, with whom we contracted with on this project.

In 2012, we did a collaborative project with The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingha to do an intense follow –up pilot program of our More Than Sad suicide prevention curriculum with the schools in the Jefferson County Board of Education School System. Students were given a pre and post test, and the results we have seen are extraordinary. By seeing this short 25 minute film, students show a 30% increase in knowledge of depression suicide prevention and resources available to help those struggling. They also all leave the program with a pocket-sized resource guide, and over 90% of students report that they would refer themselves or a friend for help if they showed signs of depression.

It is the generosity of the people of Alabama that allows us to do these type of lifesaving programs, and to be consistently recognized nationally for our efforts. We hope that you will attend on of our community walks held across the state in the fall. Please review the links on the side of the page for more information about the Alabama chapter and its resources, the Out of the Darkness walks, and how to become involved.

Sincerely,

Alan Weeks