WASHINGTON, June 11, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On average, one person dies by suicide every eight hours in the state of Missouri. To create awareness and honor those working to prevent this tragic loss of life, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention presented volunteer advocate and Missouri resident Linda Fehrmann with the national Sandy Martin Grassroots Award at the annual Allies in Action Awards reception on Sunday, June 11 in Washington, D.C.. As a leader in the state, Ms. Fehrmann was recognized for her leadership in suicide prevention and mental health.
"Linda has made such an impact in Missouri that five separate people nominated her for this award. Honoring her was an easy choice for us this year with how much she has contributed to the cause of suicide prevention. We are proud to present her with this prestigious award which she earned through her hard work and dedication. She is a true lifesaver and grassroots leader in AFSP's mission to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide," said John Madigan, vice president of public policy for AFSP.
Ms. Fehrmann serves as the Eastern Missouri Chapter President, Survivor Outreach Coordinator, and Lead Field Ambassador and Advocacy Committee Chair. She works tirelessly for AFSP in many areas, but especially in advocacy and public policy. In this work, Linda is often called on to testify in support of state legislation that would further AFSP's public policy priorities, including:
- SB 328 (2015) and SB 646 (2016) by Senator Jill Schupp, to encourage educator training and require school policies on suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention; provisions of SB 646 were ultimately signed into law in 2016 via a larger schools bill, HB 1583.
- SB 627 (2016) by Senator Jamilah Nasheed, requiring state universities to have suicide prevention policies in place and to provide all incoming students with information about where and how to access suicide prevention resources.
- HB 329 (2017) by Representative Lynn Morris, requiring pharmacists to have 2 hours of continuing education on suicide prevention.
- SB 490 (2017) by Senator Jill Schupp, requiring 2 hours of suicide prevention training for mental health professionals as a requirement for licensure.
As part of AFSP, Fehrmann often speaks at community events about suicide prevention and firearms. She continues to work with others on a pilot Firearms and Suicide Prevention program with the National Sports Shooting Foundation, which seeks to build and implement public education resources for firearms retailers, shooting ranges, and the firearms-owning community about suicide prevention and firearms, and spoke about Missouri's role in this program at the Annual AFSP Chapter Leadership Conference. Linda has visited shooting ranges and retailers to talk about the program and distribute the AFSP/NSSF "Firearms and Suicide Prevention Brochure."
Over 200 advocates from AFSP, from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, were present to acknowledge the work of this life saving champion. The advocates were in Washington, D.C. for four days to meet with their members of Congress to encourage them to invest in mental health and suicide prevention. The awards program included volunteers who have lost loved ones to suicide or who have their own lived experience with a suicide attempt, along with mental health professionals, suicide prevention allies, members of Congress and their staff, advocacy groups, and other leaders in the field.
Suicide in Missouri
Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death overall in Missouri. For people aged 10-24 in Utah, it is the third leading cause of death. For those aged 25-34, it is the second leading cause of death. On average one person dies by suicide every 8 hours in the state.
** 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, AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. AFSP celebrates 30 years of service to the suicide prevention movement. 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.
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SOURCE American Foundation for Suicide Prevention