TALLAHASSEE, Fla., March 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and the eighth leading cause of death in Florida. On Thursday, March 21, advocates from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, will join with the Florida Suicide Prevention Coalition to host the annual Suicide Prevention Day at the Capitol. Advocates will be urging lawmakers to prioritize suicide prevention and mental health initiatives for all Florida residents, including SB 360/HB 307 for mental health parity in insurance coverage and SB 84/HB 109 to prohibit the practice of conversion therapy with minors. Prior to the Day at the Capitol, advocates will remember and honor loved ones lost to suicide at the Big Bend Hospice "Lighting the Darkness" event, held on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at the GFWC Women's Club of Tallahassee.
"Since I became an advocate for suicide prevention and mental health in 2015, there has been growth on the legislative level in Florida, but we need to be doing more. We lose over 3,000 Floridians to suicide every year and those losses cause a ripple effect among their loved ones and the community. I am a loss survivor who also struggles with depression and anxiety. Through my journey I have learned to make my mental health a personal priority. Our mental health is a part of our overall health. Once we have true mental health parity, more Floridians will feel empowered to seek help when they need it," said Hannah Jines, AFSP Florida Tampa Bay Chapter Board Chair.
The Florida State Capitol Day is a special day for all who have a connection with or a personal story around the topic of suicide. Volunteers will meet with their state legislators and share their stories about why they participate in this advocacy effort, giving a human face to this important health problem. Advocates hope that by sharing their stories, they will help legislators understand that state investments in mental health and suicide prevention can save lives.
AFSP Florida 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, 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 Florida 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