ALBANY, N.Y., May 5, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Each year in the United States, suicide claims over 40,000 lives – more than war, murder, and natural disasters combined. On average, one person dies by suicide every five hours in New York. On Wednesday, May 6, 2015, over 200 volunteers from the eight New York State Chapters of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, will arrive at the state capitol to meet with lawmakers to encourage them to support legislation addressing suicide prevention in New York State schools: S3561/A6187, S4261/A3384, and S3912/A7180.
"We come to Albany to advocate for suicide prevention because there is hope. Suicide prevention efforts are effective in saving lives," said Michelle Hunt, AFSP National Public Policy Council member and Capital Region NY Chapter Board member. "There is much we can do to help young people at risk for suicide. However, it will take us all being vigilant and taking action. Any death to suicide is too many."
Sponsored by Senator Adriano Espaillat, S3561 would require that materials for educators regarding suicide prevention and signs of depression be provided and published online by the commissioner of the office of mental health. These materials would include information regarding symptoms of depression, how depression manifests in different cultures, suicide warning signs, appropriate actions to take if suicide risk is suspected, and educational websites regarding youth suicide prevention. Sponsored by Assistant Assembly Speaker Felix Ortiz, the Assembly companion bill is A6187.
Senator Espaillat also sponsored S4261 which would require the office of mental health and the state education department to identify or develop and post online materials for educators that may be used to teach students about suicide prevention and signs of depression. This proposed legislation would also allow suicide prevention to be included in the health education curriculum for secondary school students. Sponsored by Assemblymember John McDonald, the Assembly companion bill is A3384.
Both bills are currently being considered by the Senate Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee and the Assembly Mental Health Committee.
Sponsored by Senator John Flanagan, S3912 would require district-wide school safety plans to include policies and procedures for responding to a student's implied or direct intention to complete suicide and for contacting parents/guardians of students that indicate an implied or direct intention to complete suicide. Sponsored by Assemblymember Thomas Abinanti, the Assembly companion bill is A7180. These bills are currently under review by the Senate Education Committee and the Assembly Education Committee.
AFSP thanks these Senators and Assemblymembers for their leadership and commitment to supporting youth suicide prevention across New York State.
Suicide in New York
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for adults ages 25-34 in New York, and the third leading cause of death for young people ages 10-24. Suicide cost New York a total of $1,806,769,000 of combined lifetime medical and work loss cost in 2010, or an average of $1,167,918 per suicide death.
Follow the advocates' journey using the hashtag #AFSPNY15.
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