Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and the eleventh leading cause of death in Texas. On Monday, March 4, 2019, advocates from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, will arrive at the state capitol to meet with lawmakers to encourage them to prioritize suicide prevention initiatives for all Texans, including support of HB 471 requiring suicide prevention training for licensed health professionals; SB 633/HB 1598 increasing access to mental health resources for Texans in rural areas; HB 620 requiring the Texas Women Veterans Program to conduct a public awareness campaign; and SB 913/HB 1069 requiring mental health instruction in schools and school policies regarding mental health promotion and intervention, substance abuse prevention and intervention, and suicide prevention.
“Advocacy allows our AFSP volunteers to use their voice to affect legislative change to save lives and prevent suicide in Texas. Suicide is a public health problem that can no longer be ignored, and resources for mental health must be increased. I believe we can decrease the suicide rate in Texas through advocacy and work towards AFSP’s bold goal of reducing the suicide rate 20% by the year 2025,” said Darleen Cameron, AFSP Central Texas Field Advocate and Chapter Volunteer.
The AFSP Texas State Capitol Day 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.
AFSP Texas advocates 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 Texas residents affected by suicide each year.