AFSP 11th Annual Advocacy Forum

Last Monday I attended the (first virtual) 11th annual Advocacy Forum for America’s Foundation for Suicide Prevention Field Advocates across the country to learn more about the Federal and State policy areas currently being worked on that can and will save lives but needs more of our support. Currently, there are three major Federal policy “asks” from the mental health and suicide prevention community in focus:

Federal and State Policy "Asks":

1) Calling 988

Are you familiar with what this number is? Probably not! 988 will be the designated emergency number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Like 911 in any other emergency, a mental health phone call should be taken just as urgently. Having a number like 988 specifics to mental health emergencies instead of an 800 number can both reduce stigma and save a life by passing S.2661. Part of passing this would also support the increased funding and awareness for the Lifeline itself and other crisis services by passing H.R.4564, H.R.4585, and H.R.7159. In the future having a simpler number like 988 to call and dispatch help if needed could drastically reduce the number of suicides that occur each day.

2) Funding

Asking Congress to increase federal funding for suicide prevention research and programs

3) Service Members Support

Asking Congress to prioritize suicide prevention for Veterans, Service Members, and their families by supporting H.R.5697, S.3020/H.R.5516, S.785, and S.3919.

We had the opportunity to listen to and speak with members of Congress, Veterans, top researchers, and other members of the public policy team pushing for these “asks” to pass and were able to share our own stories amongst one another. If you have a mental health story, know somebody affected by suicide, or simply believe in the importance of these issues I encourage you to act. America’s Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) has a quick and efficient way you can contact your members of Congress to ask that these 3 policies pass.

Taking Action

Mental health and suicide prevention to me is a passion because they have directly affected my life and thus my determination for advocacy. If you’d like more information on how to take action yourself, please go to and click the 2020 Advocacy Forum -Support 3 Federal Policy Asks to learn more. In this section, you can write a personalized e-mail message to your state elected officials voicing your own support of mental health and suicide prevention. If you don’t know your elected officials you can simply add a location at the bottom of the page to generate a list of who they are!

Lastly, I also want to thank AFSP for taking the opportunity to speak up about the inequities in access to healthcare, especially mental health care, for Black/Minority communities, for condemning racism and working towards eliminating the injustices in the field of mental health and suicide prevention. As always if you or anyone you know is battling through mental health struggles please seek help and/or visit my resources page for helpful links.


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