SPRINGFIELD, Ill., April 14, 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 seven hours in Illinois. On Tuesday, April 14, 2015, volunteers from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, will arrive at the state capitol to meet with lawmakers to encourage them to pass Senate Bills 1793 and 1941. Both proposed bills support youth suicide prevention.
"While these statistics point to a serious public health problem, we do know that suicide is preventable," said Steve Moore, AFSP volunteer. "It is imperative that we pass this legislation immediately – our children and youth are in need of our protection. We have a responsibility to make this legislation a priority – the future of our state depends on it."
Sponsored by Sens. William Delgado, Michael Hastings, and Andy Manar, SB1793 would require that Illinois schools adopt comprehensive policies and procedures that incorporate methods of suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention.
When responding to the latest (2013) Youth Risk Behavior Survey, more than one in four Illinois high school students indicated that they felt sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more in a row in the year before the survey; 19 percent indicated that they had seriously considered attempting suicide, and 19 percent made a plan about how they would attempt suicide. AFSP thanks these Senators for their leadership on sponsoring such an important piece of legislation.
AFSP also thanks Sens. Tom Cullerton and Michael Hastings for their sponsorship of SB 1941, legislation that would ensure that for law enforcement officers, firemen, volunteer firemen, and paramedics, "killed in the line of duty" includes instances in which the injury received is self-inflicted and a medical professional establishes that the injury was a result of active duty service. Recognizing that injuries sustained during a suicide are equal with physical injuries a first responder might sustain on the job sends the message that mental illness is not something to be ashamed of, but something to get treated for like any illness.
Suicide in Illinois
Suicide is the third leading cause of death for people ages 15-34 in Illinois, and the second leading cause of death for people aged 10-14. Suicide cost Illinois a total of $1,391,865,000 of combined lifetime medical and work loss cost in 2010, or an average of $1,181,549 per suicide death.
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