Suicide Prevention Advocates Gather in Denver

February 27, 2020

Original article appeared on News on 6

DENVERFeb. 25, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and the seventh leading cause of death in Colorado.  On Wednesday, February 26advocates from the Colorado Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, will join the Suicide Prevention Coalition of ColoradoMental Health Colorado, and NAMI-Colorado for the 2nd Annual Suicide Prevention Day at the Capitol.

“We are so happy to have 4 organizations collaborate to host this award-winning, 2nd Annual Suicide Prevention Day at the Capitol. We know there is strength in numbers, and bringing together many advocates from around the state, in person and remotely via a livestream is impactful.  This event turns up the volume on our collective voice.  With suicide claiming the lives of over 1,100 Coloradoans annually, we all have more work to do.  Taking action and being part of the solution is rewarding and healing, especially for so many of us that have lost loved ones and/or are struggling with mental health concerns,” said Nancy Medina, AFSP Colorado Chapter Board Chair.

Advocates will meet with lawmakers throughout the day and urge their support of: SB20-001 requiring the Department of Education to offer a train the trainer program designed to improve school climate, promote youth behavioral and mental health, and prepare attendees to teach a youth behavioral and mental health training course to school personnel; and HB20-1086 expanding mandatory health insurance coverage for preventative services to include an annual, 60-minute mental health wellness examination. Advocates will also be encouraging lawmakers to support future legislative efforts to strengthen teacher licensure requirements to include mental health and suicide prevention training.

The Colorado 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. Attendees will meet with their legislators to share their stories about why they participate in this advocacy effort, giving a human face to this important public health problem. Advocates hope that by sharing their stories, they will help lawmakers understand that investments in mental health and suicide prevention can save lives.

AFSP Colorado Chapter advocates are part of a larger national movement of AFSP volunteer advocates who will visit state capitols across the United States in 2020 to bring best practices in suicide prevention to legislators and their staff. To learn more about AFSP’s advocacy efforts, visit here:

On average, 132 Americans died by suicide each day in 2018, and upwards of 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 residents across the state affected by mental health conditions and 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 and the District of Columbia 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.