The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide, by funding scientific research, educating the public about mental health and suicide prevention, advocating for public policies, funding scientific research, and supporting survivors of suicide loss and those with lived experience. The local Delaware Chapter is dedicated to supporting the entire state.
Suicide does not discriminate and can affect anyone; and certain demographics, such as our youth, are at an increased risk. In Delaware suicide is the 13th leading cause of death and the 3rd leading cause of death for youth ages 10–24.
The good news is we have a growing set of tools and as a society we continue to break the stigma surrounding mental health. It is critically important to provide mental health and suicide prevention education and resources to our youth, schools and the community surrounding them. Parents, schools, pediatricians, coaches, mental health professionals, youth clubs, community organizations and more, all have an important role to play in reducing youth suicide. By educating yourself, you can learn what puts kids at greatest risk for suicide and what protects them most strongly. AFSP partners with local schools and organizations to provide many free prevention and postvention programs and resources for ages 14 and up and a read along program for ages 5-11.
While AFSP has suicide prevention expertise, we need partners who can help spread awareness and bring these programs to their schools and communities.
Here are a few of AFSP’s prevention programs: It’s Real: Teens and Mental Health ages 14–18, It’s Real: College Students and Mental Health ages 15+, More than Sad for Educators and Parents ages 18+, Talk Saves Lives ages 18+, Gizmo’s Pawesome Guide to Mental Health (read along) ages 5–11.
Earlier this year the American Academy of Pediatrics and AFSP, with experts from NIMH created a Blueprint for Youth Suicide Prevention. This comprehensive document aims to support pediatric health clinicians in identifying strategies and partnerships to support children and teens at risk. For schools, AFSP, with partners, created a Model School District Policy on Suicide Prevention that gives educators and school administrators a comprehensive way to implement suicide prevention policies in their local community. Also, the After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools offers best practices and practical tools to help schools in the aftermath of a suicide.
AFSP advocates for policies and legislation at the federal and state level that help reduce suicide and improve mental health. AFSP supports requirements for regular suicide prevention training and the adoption of suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention policies in schools. Most recently we advocated for HB300, this Act establishes a mental health services unit for Delaware middle schools and was passed unanimously by the house and senate. Thousands of Field Advocates across the country are speaking out and fighting for essential policy changes that will save lives, we need your voice, click here to become an advocate.
For more information, please visit our Delaware chapter website or email Michelle Vorpahl, AFSP DE & MD Associate Area Director at email@example.com. Together we can create a culture that is smart about mental health in Delaware.
If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.