Advocates Gather in Boise to Be the Voice for Suicide Prevention

BOISE, Idaho, Feb. 21, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and the eighth leading cause of death in Idaho.  On Tuesday, February 26, advocates from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Idaho ChapterIdaho Suicide Prevention CoalitionIdaho Suicide Prevention HotlineNAMI Idaho, and Speedy Foundation will come together to host the fourth annual Suicide Prevention Day at the Capitol.  Host organizations and advocates from across the state will meet with lawmakers, urging them to prioritize suicide prevention and mental health initiatives for Idaho residents.  The event will culminate with a presentation in the Governor's chamber at 2:30 p.m. where Governor Little will proclaim February 26, 2019 Suicide Prevention Day across Idaho.

Advocates will be asking lawmakers to support increased funding for the Idaho Suicide Prevention Program and implementation of the Idaho Suicide Prevention System Action Plan, to fund the following priorities as outlined in Governor Little's budget allocation request: (1) Upgrades to the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline; (2) A robust training network and "train-the-trainer" model for schools; (3) A statewide gap analysis and resource mapping; and (4) Zero Suicide pilot programs in northern and eastern Idaho.  Advocates will also be asking lawmakers to support SB 1028 providing that post-traumatic stress injury suffered by a first responder is a compensable injury when the injury was caused by an event arising out of the first responder's employment.

"Each and every one of us plays a role in preventing suicide. Having open and honest conversations about suicide and prevention assists Idahoans in creating responsible public policies, and we must all work together toward reaching our state's goal: to reduce suicide in Idaho 20% by the year 2025. It is great work to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide," said Carmen Barney, AFSP Idaho Chapter Public Policy Chair.

The Idaho Suicide Prevention Day at the Capitol is a special day for all who have a connection with or a personal story around the topic of suicide. Volunteers will meet with their state legislators and share their stories about why they participate in this advocacy effort, giving a human face to this important health problem. Advocates hope that by sharing their stories, they will help legislators understand that state investments in mental health and suicide prevention can save lives.  

Advocates with AFSP-Idaho are part of a larger national movement of AFSP volunteer advocates who will be visiting over 40 state capitols across the United States in 2019 to bring best practices in suicide prevention to state legislators and their staff. To learn more about AFSP's advocacy efforts, visit here: https://afsp.org/our-work/advocacy/.

On average, one hundred twenty-nine (129) Americans died by suicide each day in 2017, and 90% of those individuals had a diagnosable mental health condition at the time of their death. AFSP volunteers will urge state lawmakers to be the voice for the thousands of Idaho residents affected by suicide each year.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that's smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, with a Public Policy Office in Washington, D.C. AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.

SOURCE American Foundation for Suicide Prevention