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“Perspectives on Mental Health and Suicide” Advocacy. World Mental Health Day October 10, 2006 Pan American Health Organization A Collaborative Effort Between: The World Federation for Mental Health and the International Association of Suicide Prevention

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perspectives on mental health and suicide advocacy

“Perspectives on Mental Health and Suicide” Advocacy

World Mental Health Day

October 10, 2006

Pan American Health Organization

A Collaborative Effort Between:

The World Federation for Mental Health and the

International Association of Suicide Prevention

“Building Awareness – Reducing Risk:

Mental Illness and Suicide”

Jerry Reed, MSW

Executive Director

  • “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead
  • “The rights of every person are diminished when the rights of one are threatened.”

- John F. Kennedy

  • “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” 

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

advocacy is
Advocacy is…

“using your personal story and life experience to change hearts, minds and attitudes through education and example on a day-to-day basis.” Stephen Propst Summer 2003 DBSA Newsletter

the model for action
The Model for Action

Richmond and Kotelchuck’s Health Policy Model

Found in: Atwood, K, Colditz, G. A., Kawachi, I. (1997). From public health science to prevention policy: Placing science in its social and political context. American Journal of Public Health, 87(10).

suicide in the world
Suicide in the World


the international data
Suicide is the 13th leading cause of death in the world

WHO estimates there are 1,000,000 suicides in the world each year

One death by suicide every 40 seconds and one attempt every 3 seconds in the world

Suicide represents 1.4% of to total global burden of disease

The global suicide rate was 14.8/100,000

Up to 90 percent of suicides evidenced some form of mental disorder or substance abuse

Rates tend to increase with age for both sexes

Highest rates found in Eastern European countries

Lowest rates found in Latin America and in a few countries in Asia

Suicide accounted for 49.1% of violence related deaths

The International Data
violent deaths worldwide
Violent Deaths Worldwide

Achieving the Promise, July 2003

survivor engagement
Survivor Engagement
  • SPAN USA founded to engage survivors and build political will for change
  • Turn grief to action
  • Put a face to the tragedy of suicide
  • Facilitate the healing journey
  • Serve as a catalyst for change
span usa s 2006 2007 public policy priorities
SPAN USA’s 2006-2007 Public Policy Priorities
  • Full FY 2007 Appropriation of the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act (PL 108-355)
  • Passage of the Senator Paul Wellstone Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act
  • $1.5 million to CDC to expand the National Violent Death Reporting System
  • Legislation on senior suicide early intervention and prevention
  • Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention
the u s response to suicide prevention
The U.S. Response to Suicide Prevention

UN Guidelines for National Strategies

$9 million forcrisis line grant

$9 million for SPRC

$9 million forcrisis line grant

Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act Grants

The Reno Conference

PNFC Report on Mental Health

SPAN USA forms


SG’s Call to Action to Prevent Suicide

GarrettLeeSmith MemorialAct signed

S. Res. 84H. Res. 212











garrett lee smith memorial act update
Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act Update
  • 36 state/tribal grants (~$400,000 per grantee)
  • 55 campus grants (~$75,000 per grantee)
  • National Suicide Prevention Resource Center
action alliance for suicide prevention
Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention
  • Contract awarded to SPAN USA in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in August 2006
  • A coordinating body to implement, monitor, and provide leadership over the NSSP
  • Engage public/private sector partners to move objectives from paper to practice
how to succeed
How to succeed
  • Know your issue (facts, figures, statistics)
  • Know what you want (research, funding, services, legislation)
  • Engage politicians/appointed officials
  • Know the champions for suicide prevention and mental health issues
  • Engage advocates/survivors/consumers
  • Engage the media
  • Know what others are saying about this issue
    • Who supports and who opposes
  • Know what is being done
  • Work with others (coalitions, task forces, working groups, etc.)
  • Advocacy should be purposeful
  • Incorporate knowledge base, social strategies and political will to move towards prevention
  • Inspire others to help
  • Offer to do the work to get it done
  • There is a finite number of resources – be specific
  • Know what you want and why
  • Insist on accountability
  • You have the right to ask for action
  • Keep a record of your efforts
  • You will make a difference
  • If you don’t act, it may not get done
closing quote
Closing Quote

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

Mahatma Gandhi

contact information
Contact Information

Jerry Reed

Executive Director


1025 Vermont Avenue, NW

Suite 1066

Washington, DC 20005

(202) 449-3600