American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
GET INVOLVED | SHOW YOUR SUPPORT
LEWIS ROSSIGNOL | KINDNESS
Suicide is a big deal. And it’s a big deal that not enough people are talking about it out in the open. It’s the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and the more that’s learned about it, the more lives that can be saved. It’s also endlessly complex as we still understand far too little of the inner workings of our brains. This is where the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention comes in. Panic Brand artist Lewis Rossignol has created an original illustration of Anthony Bourdain to help raise money for the AFSP through our Kindness Initiative. 40% of all proceeds generated from the sale of this piece will be donated directly to AFSP. And we think it’s critical to understand how important the work that they do is. Not only in saving lives, but in directing people to the help that they need to reduce or eliminate suicidal thoughts. They also offer incredible support to those people whose lives have been impacted by the death of a loved one from suicide.
AFSP 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.
By helping to raise money for the AFSP, you’re helping to save lives and giving hope to those affected. Although donating directly is always a highly appreciated way to show your support, opening your wallet is not the only way you can assist. You can ‘walk to fight’ suicide, volunteer with the foundation, bring prevention to your school, get training or apply for a research grant, to name a few. What impresses us the most about the AFSP is how comprehensive their coverage of this issue is. They fund research to improve interventions, train clinicians in suicide prevention and advocate for new policies. Then they also seek to find better ways to reach those suffering and find ways to encourage society as a whole to make mental health a priority. Their blog is one of the best ways to stay informed.
Most importantly however, is bringing hope to those impacted by suicide. They help bring people out of the darkness and then present them with the opportunity to help others. If you’re struggling with suicidal thinking, please call the call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. If you think someone is thinking about suicide, here are the steps the AFSP suggests you take:
- Talk to them in private.
- Listen to their story.
- Tell them you care about them.
- Ask directly if they are thinking about suicide.
- Encourage them to seek treatment or to contact their doctor or therapist.
- Avoid debating the value of life, minimizing their problems or giving advice.
We were very fortunate that Angela Crowley with the AFSP was able to take some time out of her schedule to provide some more invaluable information.
How did the organization get its start and how far reaching is the organization today?
Established in 1987, the AFSP 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. Since its founding in 1987, AFSP has:
- Mobilized and connected tens of thousands of people who have lost a family member, loved one, or friend to suicide
- Reached thousands of individuals who are at risk for suicide, as well as those who love and care for them
- Attracted the participation of members of the scientific and clinical communities, who conduct groundbreaking research on suicide and its prevention with support from AFSP
- Established local chapters in all 50 states
- Educated hundreds of local communities about suicide and how to prevent it
- Created a public policy and lobbying arm by merging successfully with an existing national policy organization, thus enabling AFSP to press for legislation and policies at the federal, state and local levels that advance the goal of preventing suicide
- Substantially increased our funding from individual donors, including the thousands of highly motivated individuals who participate in our Out of the Darkness Walks
- Educated reporters and the media about how to best cover suicide
- Communicated with hundreds of thousands of individuals through our website, social media, brochures, speakers and efforts to generate press coverage
Aside from financial contributions, what are some other ways people could help the foundation or get involved?
What are some things that you think we could do better at as a society to bring this conversation more out into the open?
If you think someone is thinking about suicide, assume you are the only one who will reach out. This is a good resource on how to have an honest conversation with someone who may be struggling.
When someone starts entertaining thoughts of suicide, what would be the first steps you would suggest that person takes? Where/who would they ideally turn to first?
If you are in a state of distress, reaching out is the first step to safety. Call/Text one of these dedicated crisis services: Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255); Veteran’s Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 (press 1); Crisis Text Line Text HOME to 741741 in US.
What are some areas the foundation is focused on that you feel have strong potential to make a large impact?
Project 2025 is a nationwide initiative to reduce the annual rate of suicide in the U.S. 20 percent by 2025. Despite the fact that more is being done today to prevent suicide than at any other time in history, the rate of suicide continues to rise in the United States. Led by the largest suicide prevention organization in the United States, with guidance from the top minds in the field and dynamic data modeling, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has determined the programs, policies and interventions that will prevent as many suicides as possible. Project 2025 is the collaborative effort to implement and scale these strategies nationwide.
If you'd like to show further support, please visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website and follow them on Facebook to stay up to date. Thank you to our Panic Fam for being the key to our success and for helping us to give back!