American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Statement on the Release of the 2024 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention

NEW YORK, April 23, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Today marks the release of the 2024 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, an important milestone and rallying point for organizations nationwide working to address this important public health issue. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) applauds the Biden Administration for its efforts to directly address suicide, which is the 11th leading cause of death in the U.S.


American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Logo (PRNewsfoto/AFSP)

The National Strategy is a comprehensive vision that is in line with AFSP’s long-standing mission to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide, and our public policy priorities. The strategic pillars of the approach clearly lay out areas of impact and alignment for all those working to end suicide, including those who have been affected by it. This new strategy looks forward to the next 10 years and is an update to the approach launched in 2012. It includes the first ever Federal Action Plan that contains more than 200 actions across the government to be implemented over the next three years. Through the prevention and education work of AFSP’s chapters across the country, our funding of research, and policy and advocacy, we are proud to support the goals of this plan.

“The National Strategy is the nation’s roadmap for suicide prevention. To be successful in addressing suicide, we need everyone involved – locally, statewide and nationally, and we need the public and private sectors working together,” said Robert Gebbia, CEO of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. “AFSP has been dedicated to these pillars for some time, and we will continue to invest our time, expertise, and resources into making progress, but we cannot do it alone. We are hopeful that the National Strategy will be a catalyst for the nation to come together to solve this critical public health challenge.”

The National Strategy for Suicide Prevention is grounded in four areas of focus, or pillars, that cut across key sectors of society that address the gaps, guide and catalyze collective efforts towards the goal of preventing suicide. These pillars focus on (1) Community-Based Suicide Prevention, (2) Treatments and Crisis Services, (3) Surveillance, Quality Improvement, and Research, and for the first time, (4) Health Equity in Suicide Prevention. AFSP efforts supporting these critical areas follow.

Community-Based Suicide Prevention

AFSP has prioritized community-based suicide prevention for the past two decades through our nationwide chapter network. With 74 chapters across 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico we have boots-on-the-ground in communities across the country that allow us to deliver solutions directly to communities with local partnerships being essential for greater impact. Our chapter network includes tens of thousands of individuals and families who are personally touched by suicide either via suicide loss and/or lived experience who in turn support and advocate on behalf of thousands of people impacted by suicide in their communities.

Treatment and Crisis Services

In the past six years, AFSP has invested in health system implementation of evidence-based suicide prevention clinical practice to support access to Treatment and Crisis Services. These practices include the safety net that can save lives via health systems: screening, suicide risk assessment, brief interventions such as Safety Planning and Lethal Means Counseling, follow-up, and referrals to longer-term suicide risk reducing treatments. We have also established partnerships with leading mental health organizations focused on scaling efforts across the country to train clinicians on mental health and suicide preventive patient care. AFSP has been a leading voice for making mental health care accessible and affordable through mental health parity.

AFSP has also been at the forefront of advocacy for the designation of the 3-digit suicide prevention for 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, our nation’s mental health and substance use crisis hotline. As a part of this effort, AFSP has been working hard to urge Congress and state legislatures to take necessary steps to build a comprehensive and sustainable crisis response system to sufficiently meet the rising demand for suicide, mental health, and substance use care.

Surveillance, Quality Improvement, and Research

As the leading private funder of suicide prevention research globally, AFSP has been investing in the research field for the past 35 years and is an active contributor to the development of the national research agenda for suicide prevention. Our organization invests over $32 million annually in research studies and attracts new researchers and identifies key gap areas that can be lifesaving. Our research portfolio is highly diverse representing cross-disciplinary fields across neurobiology, genetics, clinical, community, and cultural researchers. AFSP’s research priorities include diversity and equity, higher risk populations, and suicide loss and healing research.

We are an active member of the National Syndromic Surveillance Program (NSSP) data and surveillance group, sharing data with the CDC to support coordinated responses to public health threats. We build on this work by supporting a researcher community through training and partnership with the International Academy of Suicide Research (IASR) and the Suicide Research Symposium.

Health Equity in Suicide Prevention

Equity is a cross-cutting theme across AFSP’s work and we continually advocate for policies and pursue partnerships, programs and initiatives that focus on health equity in suicide prevention. Our fight to end suicide includes advocating for improved data collection and access to culturally informed and evidence-informed mental healthcare and suicide prevention services, and supports for specific populations including marginalized communities, disproportionately impacted by suicide.

We have worked with the National Latino Behavioral Health Association (NLBHA), to co-develop a suicide prevention program for Hispanic/Latinx communities. We are collaborating with Omega Psi Phi, an international fraternity, to implement our new suicide prevention program for Black and African American communities on HBCU campuses. Another key partner is Soul Shop, a national organization of culturally competent faith experts equipping congregations to minister to those impacted by suicide, with whom AFSP co-developed a faith-based suicide prevention day-long workshop for Black and African American churches. More recently, AFSP launched a suicide prevention program for Black and African American communities informed by Black experts from the community. Additionally, our ongoing research priorities focus on underrepresented populations and researchers in those populations.

Going forward AFSP is excited to continue the important work of executing this strategy with partners and collaborators from across the country. These efforts will include cross-sector initiatives that build on our current partnerships focused on regional and national impact across government agencies, academia, healthcare, and workplaces including key industry sectors with high-risk populations. We will keep our focus on creating real solutions that save lives and leverage our strengths to advance initiatives that can reduce suicide.

Media interested in learning more about suicide, warning signs, and prevention can visit our website at www.afsp.org. For insight on how to report on suicide: https://afsp.org/for-journalists. It is important to NOT mention the method of suicide in reporting as this can lead to possible suicide contagion.

If you need help right now, please call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide, including those who have experienced a loss. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through public 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, with a public policy office in Washington, DC, AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states, DC and Puerto Rico, with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn and TikTok.

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SOURCE American Foundation for Suicide Prevention