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The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: Saving Lives

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The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention was founded in 1987 and is a voluntary health organization that gives those affected by suicide a nationwide community empowered by research, education and advocacy to take action against this leading cause of death. 

According to its website, the AFSP works to create a culture that is “smart” about mental health by engaging in four core strategies:

  • Funding scientific research
  • Educating the public about mental health and suicide prevention
  • Advocating for public policies in mental health and suicide prevention
  • Supporting survivors of suicide loss and those affected by suicide

AFSP promotes screening and referral to supportive services for those in need through its Interactive Screening Program. The goal is to connect individuals to services before the crisis emerges. ISP is an anonymous screening and self-assessment tool that provides a safe and confidential way for individuals to take a brief screening for stress, depression, and other mental health conditions, and receive a personal response from a program counselor within the mental health services available to them.  Individuals can communicate anonymously with program counselors and receive feedback, support and referrals, in indicated.

The Facts:

According to the CDC, the suicide rate among individuals aged 16 to 64 increased by 34% between 2012 and 2015 (https://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars). 

The occupational group with the highest male suicide rate 2015 was Construction and Extraction, followed by Transportation and material moving. The group with the highest female suicide rate was office and administrative, followed by healthcare practitioners.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US
  • In 2017, 47173 people died by suicide
  • In 2017, there were an estimated 1,400,000 suicide attempts
  • In 2015, suicide and self injury cost the US $69 Billion

On average there are 129 suicides per day, and males accounted for 69% of those deaths in 2017. Men are 3.5 times more likely to die by suicide than women, and the suicide rate is highest among middle aged men.

The AFSP’s ISP program provides hope and opportunity for people suffering from depression and suicidal ideation.  They have a goal that by 2025, suicides in the United States would be reduced by 20%.  They plan on doing this by partnering with organizations in the following critical areas: Fire Arms, Health Systems, Emergency Departments, and Corrections Systems. For more information about Project 2025, please visit their website at https://project2025.afsp.org/.

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