SALEM, Ore., Feb. 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and the eighth leading cause of death in Oregon. On Tuesday, February 18, advocates from the Oregon Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, will meet with lawmakers and urge their support for efforts to train health professionals statewide in suicide assessment, treatment, and management, as well as HB 4031 which would direct the Oregon Health Authority to assess the supply of and demand for behavioral health professionals in the state over the next 10 years, providing the information necessary to help increase access to behavioral health services and address critical workforce shortages, particularly in underserved communities.
"By sharing my story as an suicide attempt survivor and a suicide loss survivor, I am being a much- needed voice for those who are unable to speak out for themselves. By being open and vulnerable, we help politicians to put a face to the bills/pieces of legislation they are being asked to support and in turn, help save lives, my own included by changing laws to increase the quality of and access to mental health care and suicide prevention programs," said Angela Perry, AFSP Oregon Chapter Board Chair.
The AFSP Oregon Capitol Day is a special day for all who have a connection with or a personal story around the topic of suicide. Attendees will meet with their legislators to share their stories about why they participate in this advocacy effort, giving a human face to this important public health problem. Advocates hope that by sharing their stories, they will help lawmakers understand that investments in mental health and suicide prevention can save lives.
AFSP Oregon Chapter advocates are part of a larger national movement of AFSP volunteer advocates who will visit state capitols across the United States in 2020 to bring best practices in suicide prevention to legislators and their staff. To learn more about AFSP's advocacy efforts, visit here: https://afsp.org/our-work/advocacy/.
On average, 132 Americans died by suicide each day in 2018, and upwards of 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 residents across the state affected by mental health conditions and 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 and the District of Columbia 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.