LINCOLN, Neb., March 4, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- On average, one person dies by suicide every 32 hours in Nebraska, where suicide ranks as the ninth leading cause of death. On Tuesday, March 5, advocates from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the largest suicide prevention organization in the United Sates, will visit Lincoln to meet with State Senators to encourage them to prioritize suicide prevention and mental health for all Nebraska residents. AFSP is participating as part of the 4th Annual State Advocacy Day at the capitol and will be joined by advocates from the Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition, NAMI-Nebraska, Metro Area Suicide Prevention Coalition, The Kim Foundation, and Boys Town National Hotline.
"We are proud to join with our partner agencies to advocate on the need to prioritize mental health and suicide prevention efforts in our state and pass legislation that will help save lives in Nebraska. The conversations with Senators raise awareness about the prevalence of suicide in Nebraska as well as the personal impact that suicide loss and suicide attempts have on families, communities, schools and workplaces," said Aileen Brady, Public Policy Chair for AFSP's Nebraska Chapter.
Advocates will be asking State Senators to support continued mental health and suicide prevention education efforts for school personnel and students, including the following legislation: LB 488 which would require age-appropriate mental health and drug awareness prevention education in school curricula; LB 568 which would establish a nationally recognized mental health first aid training program for teachers and other school personnel; and LB 725 which would provide an opportunity for qualifying school districts to be reimbursed for mental health expenditures through a newly created School Mental Health Resource Fund.
AFSP-Nebraska is also recommending that LB 120, which expands the existing suicide awareness and prevention training requirement for educators to allow for coverage of other topic areas such as identification of early warning signs and symptoms of behavioral and mental health issues in students, appropriate and effective responses for educators, trauma-informed care, and procedures for making students and parents or guardians aware of services and supports, be amended to increase the training duration from one hour to at least two hours each year.
AFSP Nebraska 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 Nebraska 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 Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
SOURCE American Foundation for Suicide Prevention