The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) has been selected by the White House Office of Public Engagement as a “Champion of Change,” part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative to “out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world.”
AFSP and its public policy division, SPAN USA, were recognized at a White House event on Thursday, Aug. 25, along with eight other organizations who are working to prevent suicide, provide resources for communities, and educate individuals and groups across the country.
“Being recognized by President Obama with a ‘Champions of Change’ award is a tremendous honor for AFSP and a major step toward shedding light on this problem and making suicide prevention a priority for our nation,” AFSP Executive Director Robert Gebbia said.
At the event, members of federal agencies and White House Policy Offices participated in discussions with representatives from each of the selected organizations, focusing on amplifying best practices in both the private and public sectors.
AFSP and SPAN USA national volunteers Michael Ballard and Nancy Farrell attended the awards program and discussion, along with AFSP Executive Director Bob Gebbia and Senior Director of Public Policy John Madigan.
Every week the White House is featuring a group of Americans, businesses or organizations who are empowering and inspiring others in their communities. Different groups are highlighted and have ranged from educators to veterans to community activists.
According to the White House:
In recent years there has been a growing community-based movement in the United States aimed at preventing loss of life from suicide. This movement has the potential to create a dramatic change in how we understand suicide and the mental disorders that contribute to suicide and offers hope for the prevention of suicide.
This movement is characterized by efforts to educate the public, development of new interventions and a growing constituency comprised of people affected by this issue — the family and friends who have lost a loved one to suicide and those who struggle with a mental disorder and/or suicidal behavior.
However, a steady increase in the number of suicide deaths each year in the U.S. shows the challenges we face and the need for greater investment in prevention, if we are to reverse this trend.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is at the forefront of the movement to prevent loss of life from suicide and is investing in the scientific research, education and advocacy needed to address this formidable public health problem. And AFSP is most grateful to be selected by the Obama Administration for a Champions of Change award and honored to participate in a White House discussion on suicide prevention.