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AMERICAN FOUNDATION FOR SUICIDE PREVENTION OPENS GREATER MINNESOTA CHAPTER


Wed, Sep 23rd, 2009
Posted in State of Minnesota

New York, NY - September 21, 2009 - The American Foundation for Suicide

Prevention (AFSP) has opened its newest chapter. The addition of the

Greater Minnesota Chapter brings the total number of AFSP chapters in the

U.S. to 36.

Suicide is a national health problem that claims a life every 16 minutes. In

Minnesota suicide has claimed nearly 4,000 lives from 1999 to 2006 (the most

recent statistics available). Tragically, it is the second leading cause of

death for ages15 to 34 and the fourth leading cause of death for ages 35 to

54 in the state.

Based in Minneapolis the Greater Minnesota Chapter will cover the 76

counties from Dakota, Scott, Le Sueur, Blue Earth and Faribault to the west

and north. Their mission will be to bring nationally recognized suicide

prevention initiatives to the entire state. The Chapter will also work to raise

awareness and education as well as expand programs to support those

bereaved by suicide loss.

[A Rochester Minnesota Chapter is in development. That chapter will cover

the 11 southeast counties of the state. An Out of the Darkness Community

Walk will take place in Rochester on September 19th and the city will also

host a National Survivors of Suicide Day conference on November 21st.]

Some of these programs include AFSP's "Out of the Darkness" Community

Walks and the National Survivors of Suicide Day Conferences. The chapter

will be hosting three Community Walks this fall (www.outofthedarkness.org) -

Twin Cities Walk in St. Paul on September 27, St. Cloud and Brainerd both on

September 19. National Survivors of Suicide Day healing conferences

(www.afsp.org/survivorday) will also be held in Brainerd, Moorhead and St.

Paul on November 21.

In addition to the Community Walks and National Survivors of Suicide Day,

the newly formed chapter also plans to distribute the Foundation's newest

educational film called "More than Sad: Teen Depression" to high schools

throughout the area and continue AFSP's Depression Awareness Billboard

Campaign which launched in the Twin Cities area in 2007. The billboards seek

to educate the public about the serious nature of depression, and to urge

those clinically depressed to see their doctor.

"Starting the local AFSP chapter in Minnesota has given me something

positive to do in memory of my sister, Janell. Losing my sister was extremely

difficult and despite the fact that her death was 20 years ago, not a day

goes by that I don't think about her. I am confident that the work our

chapter will be doing will help local survivors of suicide loss as well as help

prevent others from taking their own life," said Audra Ruff, chairwoman of the

Chapter.

There are currently nine board members for the chapter which includes

medical doctors, licensed mental health professionals, business leaders,

community leaders and survivors of suicide loss.

About the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is the only national not-for-

profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing

suicide through research, education and advocacy as well was to reaching

out to people with mood disorders and those affected by suicide.

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