COLUMBIA, S.C., March 19, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Each year in the United States, suicide claims over 40,000 lives – more than war, murder, and natural disasters combined. In South Carolina, one person dies by suicide every twelve hours. On Thursday, March 19, 2015, volunteers from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, will visit with lawmakers in Columbia during Mental Health Advocacy Day.
"As the largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, we know the simple fact that suicide can be prevented," said Tom Robinson, Board Member and Public Policy Chair of the South Carolina Chapter of AFSP. "Now, looking ahead I am here to ask for our current government leaders in South Carolina to support real mental health parity to help us improve mental health and prevent suicide among South Carolinians of all ages. I hope our government leaders will work with the insurance companies doing business in South Carolina to assure that persons with mental illness have access to affordable behavioral health services. Not only will this help alleviate the pain and frustration of patients and their families, it will also be a big step toward reducing suicide in South Carolina."
The Federal Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act was signed into law in 2008, and final regulations were finally issued in July of last year. Mental Health Parity requires health insurance plans to cover mental health and substance abuse treatment and services in the same way they cover medical and surgical benefits. Plans must have similar treatment limits and financial requirements like copays and coinsurance, and there can be no annual or lifetime dollar limits.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention-SC, Mental Health America-SC, and other stakeholders continue to work collaboratively to grow suicide prevention efforts in the state, despite no dedicated state funding.
Mental Health Advocacy Day in South Carolina is an event that includes the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention- South Carolina Chapter, Mental Health America of South Carolina, NAMI -South Carolina, South Carolina SHARE, South Carolina Department of Mental Health, Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc., and the South Carolina Federation of Families.
Suicide in South Carolina
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 15-34 in South Carolina and the fourth leading cause of death for people aged 10-14, and 35-44. Suicide cost South Carolina a total of $748,610,000 of combined lifetime medical and work loss cost in 2010, or an average of $1,175,213 per suicide death. Almost twice as many people die by suicide in South Carolina annually as by homicide.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention leads the fight against suicide. We fund research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy, and support those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, AFSP has 75 local chapters with programs and events nationwide. Review our Annual Report to learn more about AFSP's lifesaving work, and join the national conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
SOURCE American Foundation for Suicide Prevention