WASHINGTON, June 14, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- To create awareness and honor those working to prevent this tragic loss of life, volunteer advocates from American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Mental Health America presented five members of the United States Congress with awards at the annual Allies in Action Awards dinner on Tuesday, June 12 in Washington, D.C. at the Washington Court Hotel. These members were recognized for their leadership in making suicide prevention and mental health the legislative priority it should be.
"The unyielding support and tireless leadership for suicide prevention and mental health awareness from Rep. Napolitano, Rep. Beyer, Rep. DeGette, Sen. Hatch, and Rep. Stewart has proven these five members of Congress are true advocates. Their commitment to crafting and sponsoring legislation has brought the topic to a national stage, and has made them all allies in AFSP's mission to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide," said John Madigan, vice president of public policy for AFSP.
Representative Grace Napolitano (D-CA-32) – Lifetime Achievement Award
As the founding chair of the House Mental Health Caucus, Representative Napolitano has been a champion for the mental health needs of children, veterans, and all Americans. She has been an ally to the mental health and suicide prevention communities for decades: at the city council, mayoral, California General Assembly, and federal levels.
Representative Don Beyer (D-VA-08) – Congressional Award
Representative Beyer is in his second term as co-chair of the House Suicide Prevention Task Force, bringing his passionate voice to suicide prevention and mental health education. He recently headlined the first ever Rally to Prevent Suicide on April 21 in Washington, D.C.
Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO-01) – Congressional Award
Currently serving her 11th term, Representative DeGette is a longtime advocate for mental health and addiction treatment. As the Democratic leader of the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act, which became law in December 2016, she was a leading voice in helping to modernize research that enable more discoveries and lead to treatments and cures for patients.
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) – Congressional Award
The senior Republican in the United States Senate, Senator Hatch was instrumental in the successful passage of S. 1015, the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act, which requires the Federal Communications Commission to make recommendations for the use of an easy-to-remember three-digit suicide hotline to connect those in peril to 24/7 crisis line resources.
Representative Chris Stewart (R-UT-02) – Congressional Award
Representative Stewart is a 14-year Air Force officer veteran, and the primary sponsor of H.R. 2345, the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act. He is fervently pushing for its passage in the House of Representatives.
Over 200 advocates from AFSP, from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, were present to acknowledge the work of these life-saving champions. The AFSP advocates were in Washington, D.C. for four days to meet with their members of Congress to encourage them to invest in mental health and suicide prevention. The awards program included other awards given to volunteers who have lost loved ones to suicide or who have their own lived experience with a suicide attempt and advocate for suicide prevention, along with other state elected officials along with other leaders in the field.
** Photos of the awards being presented available upon request. **
About the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
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, AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. AFSP celebrates 30 years of service to the suicide prevention movement. 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