MONTGOMERY, Ala., March 23, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In Alabama, one person dies by suicide every 12 hours. Today, volunteers from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, will visit Montgomery for the Alabama State Capitol Day. Advocates will hold meetings with lawmakers to encourage them to prioritize suicide prevention, including passage of the Jason Flatt Act (SB11).
"Twenty-five states currently require training for school personnel in suicide prevention, and eight states currently require school policies. Alabama can and must do the same," said Marissa Grayson, AFSP advocate and volunteer.
The Jason Flatt Act would require all local school systems to provide annual training for all certificated school employees in suicide awareness and prevention, if funds are appropriated or provided from other sources. The bill requires the State Department of Education to create an advisory committee to assist in the development for the training, and would encourage the Department and the advisory committee to develop a list of approved training materials.
The Jason Flatt Act is especially important to AFSP because if adopted, it would require all local school systems to create a policy on student suicide prevention, and would require the Department and advisory committee to establish a model policy for use by local school systems for this purpose. Expansion of school district policies is important to AFSP. AFSP worked with the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of School Psychologists, and The Trevor Project, to develop a model school policy, which can be found here: Afsp.org/modelschoolpolicy.
Suicide in Alabama
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 25-34 in Alabama, and the third leading cause of death for people aged 15-24. Suicide cost Alabama a total of $7.9 million of combined lifetime medical and work loss cost in 2010, or an average of $1.1 million per suicide death. About two times as many people die by suicide in Alabama annually than by homicide.
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, and 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 Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
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SOURCE American Foundation for Suicide Prevention