Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander Awarded for Exemplary Service by Nation's Largest Suicide Prevention Organization

WASHINGTON, June 14, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the state of Tennessee. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the nation’s largest organization dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide, recognized Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) with a Federal Award at their Allies in Action Awards ceremony on Tuesday, June 14 in Washington, D.C. This award was given to Senator Alexander for his leadership as Chair of the Senate Committee Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee in advancing the Mental Health Awareness and Improvement Act (S. 1893) and the Mental Health Reform Act (S.2680) of 2016.

“Through Senator Lamar’s leadership, the Senate has been able to pass important suicide prevention legislation including funding for the National Violent Death Reporting System and reauthorization of critical programs such as the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act. As Chairman of the HELP Committee, Senator Lamar has used his influence to focus on these initiatives which will ultimately help the lives of millions of Americans,” said Bob Gebbia, AFSP CEO.

About NVDRS 
Created in 2002 by the CDC, the NVDRS provides states and communities with a clearer understanding of violent deaths to guide local decisions about efforts to prevent violence and track progress over time. NVDRS is the only state-based reporting system that pools data on violent deaths from multiple sources into a usable, anonymous database. These sources include state and local medical examiner, coroner, law enforcement, crime lab, and vital statistics records.

NVDRS covers all types of violent deaths—including homicides and suicides—in all settings and for all age groups. NVDRS may include data on mental health problems; recent problems with a job, finances, or relationships; physical health problems; and information about circumstances of death. NVDRS currently collects data in 32 states and operates with a budget of $11.3M.

Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act
The Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act, named in memory of former Sen. Gordon H. Smith’s son, Garrett, who died by suicide in September 2003, was ratified and signed into law in 2004. Grantees have been funded by SAMHSA since 2005. Grantees are funded for three years to implement best practice suicide prevention programs among youth ages 10-24, and all grantees report into a nationwide cross-site evaluation for the GLS program. 

Suicide in Tennessee
Over two times as many people die by suicide in Tennessee annually than by homicide. Suicide cost Tennessee a total of $1.1 billion of combined lifetime medical and work loss cost in 2010, or an average of $1.2 million per suicide death. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death overall in Tennessee.

** Photos of the award being presented available upon request. **

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, and with a public policy office in Washington, D.C., AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Photo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160607/376729


SOURCE American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

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