American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
|Area served||United States|
|Focus(es)||Suicide prevention, Mental illness, Mental health|
|Method(s)||Research, Education, Support, Advocacy|
"The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a non-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy, and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide."
AFSP's main objectives include:
- Funding scientific research
- Providing education to professionals
- Raising awareness and informing the public about mood disorders and suicide prevention
- Advocating for government legislation that promotes suicide prevention efforts, and
- Providing resources for families and individuals affected by suicide
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) was founded in 1987 by several people who had lost loved ones to suicide. These surviving family members joined with scientists to create the first nationwide not-for-profit devoted to supporting suicide-related research and prevention initiatives.
The organization's main constituents are scientists, survivors of suicide loss, people who live with mental illness and their families. AFSP has over 60 local chapters nationwide that drive the organization's outreach, advocacy and fundraising efforts. They work closely with organizations that provide crisis counseling, including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Since its inception, one of the primary parts of AFSP's mission has been to promote and provide funding to suicide-related research. Since 2002, AFSP has made grants of more than $20 million to scientists studying the causes of suicide, new treatments, how to prevent suicide and the impact suicide has on families and communities.
AFSP research grants fund varying types of studies, including: brain studies, genetic research, research that explores new interventions and treatments, cultural studies and survivor-related research.
Education and Prevention Programs
AFSP funds several programs to reduce stigma and help the public better understand suicide. The Interactive Screening Program (ISP) was first piloted at Emory University and is an online tool used to connect people at risk for suicide with counselors. It has been implemented in many settings, including colleges, police departments, workplaces and the NFL Players Union. More Than Sad: Suicide Prevention Education for Teachers and Other School Personnel was designed to inform teachers and school administrators about their role in suicide prevention. It is also used to teach high school students about depression and ways to get help if they feel suicidal.
International Survivors of Suicide Day brings together survivors of suicide loss at locations around the world, to promote healing and connect with others that have had similar experiences. It is officially observed on the Saturday before American Thanksgiving, and was instituted in 1999 by a U.S. Senate resolution. Survivors of suicide loss can participate in local gatherings in their communities or view the program online. After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools contains information and resources for schools that have experienced a suicide in their community.
In the LGBT Community
AFSP partnered with the Johnson Family Foundation and several LGBT organizations to develop media reporting guidelines for suicides that occur in the LGBT community. They have also sponsored and coordinated several national symposiums to address mental health and suicide within the LGBT community
Out of the Darkness Walks
AFSP is a privately funded, 501(c)(3) organization that raises money through fundraising walk events nationwide. They host hundreds of local walks, as well as a 16-18 mile walk that takes place in a different major US city each year.
- "American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, About Us". Retrieved 2013-06-21.
- Garlow, S. J., Rosenberg, J., Moore, J. D., Haas, A. P., Koestner, B., Hendin, H. and Nemeroff, C. B. (2008), Depression, desperation, and suicidal ideation in college students: results from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention College Screening Project at Emory University. Depression and Anxiety, 25: 482–488.
- Haas A.P., Koestner B., Rosenberg J., Moore D., Garlow S.J., et al. (2008). An interactive Web-based method of outreach to college students at risk for suicide. Journal of American College Health, 57(1), 15–22.
- Moutier, Christine MD; Norcross, William MD; Jong, Pam MD; Norman, Marc PhD; Kirby, Brittany MSW; McGuire, Tara MS; Zisook, Sidney MD (2012). The Suicide Prevention and Depression Awareness Program at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.
- "American Foundation for Suicide Prevention". Retrieved 2013-06-21.
- Rudolph, Dana (2011-06-30). "LGBT suicide prevention conference shows local and national collaboration". Keen News Service. Retrieved 2013-06-21.