WASHINGTON, June 24, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Each year in the United States, suicide claims over 41,000 lives – more than war, murder, and natural disasters combined. On average, one person dies by suicide every 22 hours in Mississippi. On Tuesday, June 23, 2015, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, presented the Allies in Action Congressional Award to Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) for his exemplary work in preventing this leading cause of death. More than 240 AFSP volunteer field advocates from all 50 states were in attendance as part of the organization's Advocacy Forum.
"For six years we have been honoring members of Congress and policymakers who have helped us push suicide prevention to the forefront of our legislative process. With contributions like Senator Wicker's, we are much closer to achieving our goal of reducing the suicide rate 20 percent by the year 2025," said John Madigan, AFSP vice president of public policy. "This award recognizes the invaluable contributions made by Senator Wicker, and allows local community members, who have lost a family member to suicide, to show their gratitude for his leadership in suicide prevention and access to mental health services."
Senator Wicker is being recognized for introducing the Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act (S.2300) in the U.S. Senate, along with Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN). President Obama signed the bill into law on December 19, 2014. The Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act of 2014 will help prevent suicide through three key provisions –
- Consistent mental health screenings at least once a year,
- Protecting privacy of service members, so that seeking help remains a sign of strength, and
- A report within one year of enactment, on what is working and what is not.
Facts about Military Suicide
- One in five people who die by suicide are veterans.
- The military suicide rate has doubled since 2001 and has remained unacceptably high.
- Every military sector has experienced an increase – active duty, National Guard, and Reserve forces; impacting all the Army, Marines, Navy and Air Force.
- In general, for every suicide death there are at least 4.5 suicide attempts – this problem is affecting a significant number of individuals in the Air Force. Several surveys indicate that almost everyone in the military knows someone who has attempted or died by suicide.
Suicide in Mississippi
Suicide is the third leading cause of death for people ages 15-34 in Mississippi, and the 12th leading cause of death in the state. Suicide cost Mississippi a total of $456,045,000 of combined lifetime medical and work loss cost in 2010, or an average of $1,175,372 per suicide death.
Senator Wicker was recognized with this award along with Senator Murphy (D-CT), and Representatives Leonard Lance (R-NJ), and Doris Matsui (D-CA).
** Photos of the award being presented available upon request. **
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention leads the fight against suicide. We fund research, offer 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 life-saving work, and join the national conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
SOURCE American Foundation for Suicide Prevention