COLUMBIA, S.C., March 23, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In South Carolina, one person dies by suicide every 11.5 hours. On Wednesday, March 23, 2016, volunteers from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, will visit Columbia for the Annual Mental Health Advocacy Day at the South Carolina State House. Advocates will hold meetings with lawmakers to encourage them to prioritize suicide prevention and programs that support reducing suicide in the state.
The advocates plan to thank members for their support of the Jason Flatt Act in 2012 that requires 2.0 hours of suicide prevention and awareness training for all educators before they can be recertified. Since its passage, AFSP has provided training to numerous staff throughout the state. AFSP's "More Than Sad" program is one of three programs currently approved by the SC Department of Education.
AFSP will also be informing the members about the partnership AFSP is participating in with the SC Department of Mental Health youth initiative, "While I Breathe, I Hope," that focuses on suicide prevention among young adults, aged 10 to 24. This partnership was funded by a SAMSHA grant of $736,000 per year for five years, which began September 2015.
"The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention congratulates the SC Department of Mental Health on this important grant," said Helen Pridgen, SC Area Director for AFSP. "We look forward to the work of this collaboration with DMH and other organizations so that no more young lives are lost to suicide in South Carolina. We commend and fully support the initiative."
This campaign will help increase access to screening and mental health services, raise awareness through social media, provide suicide prevention programming for 80 school districts and five college campuses. Through this partnership, training will be provided for teachers, parents, peers, guidance counselors, school nurses, and others on recognizing the risk and warning signs for suicide and where to get help.
Suicide in South Carolina
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 25-34 in South Carolina, and the third leading cause of death for people aged 15-24. More than twice as many people die by suicide in South Carolina annually as 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