Research and education help people know warning signs and what to do to help save lives

CHICAGO, April 26, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Efforts are underway to reach more people with suicide prevention information and interventions across Illinois during Mental Health Awareness Month in May. The Illinois chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is hosting numerous free prevention programs throughout the month.

Free Virtual Trainings in May:
May 1st – Talk Away the Dark with #RealConvos, Lunch & Learn at 12:00 pm
May 4th – Finding Hope, 10 am
May 8th – It’s Real: High School (Week for Children’s Mental Health Awareness), 6 pm
May 15th – Talk Saves Lives Latinx, 6 pm
May 22nd – Let’s Save Lives, Lunch & Learn at 12:00 pm
May 29th – Talk Saves Lives LGBTQ (Kickoff Pride Month), Lunch & Learn at 12:00 pm
To Register go to and scroll to find the event(s) you wish to attend.

Unplugged with AFSPIL – The Battle at Home: Preventing Suicide in Women Veterans 
Tuesday, May 21st7 pm8 pm CST.

Join us for a free virtual panel discussion to help support our women veterans in their fight against the rise in female veteran suicides. Our panel of experts will provide awareness, education, and resources through this engaging conversation followed by Q&A.
Register at:

2024 Out of the Darkness Chicagoland Walk Open House
Thursday, May 30, 20245:30pm – 7:00pm 
1531 W. Taylor Street 
Chicago, IL 60607

Learn more about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – Illinois Chapter and the 2024 Out of the Darkness Chicagoland Walk. Join us as we celebrate our walk sponsors and volunteers and learn how you can bring AFSP programming to your community.


“Suicide continues to this day to be a national health issue,” said Phil Martinez, Board Chairman of AFSP-IL. “Increases in the suicide rate cannot be attributed to any single factor. Any number of factors, including mental and physical health conditions, family mental illness or family history of suicide, childhood trauma, abuse or neglect, and genetics, could play a role. That makes public education, research and advocacy to crucial in suicide prevention.”

Latest data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show suicide is a leading cause of death. In 2021, after unintentional injury, suicide was the 3rd leading cause of death for ages 10-24 and 25-34; and the 3rd leading cause of death for ages 25-34 (after unintentional injury and homocide). Almost 53% (52.9%) of all suicide deaths in the US are by firearm. In Illinois, 45% of all suicides were by firearms.

There is reason for hope: in a recent Harris Poll conducted by AFSP, three of four people believe there are warning signs for those at risk of suicide and the majority of adults in the U.S. (78%) believe that training and education for professionals (first responders, health care providers, community leaders, faith leaders, the media, etc.) would be most helpful for reducing the number of people who die by suicide. 

In its advocacy efforts, AFSP can point to work with partnering organizations that has resulted in unprecedented increases in federal mental health funding–from $21 million in 2021 to $102 million in 2022, which included the creation of the new 988 number–a watershed moment in crisis mental health response. 

“Two years later, 988 continues to be a game changer in the crisis mental health support response world,” said Angela Cummings, executive director of AFSP-IL. “Following our State Capitol Day in Springfield on April 16, it is our hope that funding for the full 988 continuum of care will be available through the State of Illinois. This includes not only the 988 call centers, but also mobile crisis response units and stabilization centers to keep people safe during a mental health crisis.” 

Individuals can help prevent suicide by knowing the warning signs and getting help when warranted.

  • Learn the signs of someone who may be at risk for suicide. Often there are changes in behavior such as mood swings, angry outbursts, or loss of interest in activities they love. 
  • Reach out to someone who you think may be struggling. Trust your gut if you are concerned. Ask directly if they have thoughts of ending their life – research shows this is helpful and does not put the thought in their mind.
  • Connect those who are struggling to help. Share the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline as well as general and other resources for minority communities.

Help is available. In a recent Harris Poll conducted by AFSP, more than half of adults in the U.S. (56%) believe not knowing how to get help keeps people who are thinking about suicide from seeking help, along with feelings of hopelessness (66%) and embarrassment (59%). With more than half of respondents not knowing HOW to get help, AFSP will continue educating on the resources Help is available by calling or texting 988 to reach the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

AFSP and its Illinois chapter are dedicated to improved research, education, and advocacy. Through its statewide network of volunteers, AFSP Illinois offers prevention education programs that emphasize the importance of research-proven self-care techniques as well as the value of engaging professional support.

If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide, please call or text 988 for the Suicide Crisis Lifeline. Or text TALK to 741741 or go to

About the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to individuals affected by suicide. The organization creates a culture that is smart regarding mental health through educational programs, advocation for suicide prevention, and providing support for those affected by suicide. All donations go towards these efforts with the goal to greatly reduce the national suicide rate. For more:

Suicide Prevention Resources:
Suicide Warning Signs:
Media: Reporting on Suicide Prevention:

SOURCE American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

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