Nevada Senator Harry Reid met with Dr. Lanny Berman, Executive Director of the American Association of Suicidology, Jerry Reed, Director of the National Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC), and students from Cocalico High School in Denver, Pennsylvania that are members of Aevidum.
Washington, D.C.- Nevada Senator Reid met with Dr. Lanny Berman, Executive Director of the American Association of Suicidology (AAS) to accept the 2012 American Association of Suicidology Public Policy Award for his ongoing efforts on suicide prevention in the United States. Dr. Berman was joined by Jerry Reed, Director of the National Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC), and students from Cocalico High School in Denver, Pennsylvania that are members of Aevidum, a depression and suicide education awareness initiative.
“I am honored to receive this award,” said Senator Reid. “My father took his own life many years ago, but back then nobody ever talked about suicide or mental illness. Suicide is devastating for families and communities, and spreading awareness helps to save lives. I have worked hard to improve suicide prevention and mental health services to ensure that all Americans have opportunities to seek help.”
“Suicide prevention in the U.S. got jump started 16 years ago as a result of Senator Reid’s courage and leadership,” said Dr. Berman. “On behalf of the AAS, I am pleased to present the 2012 Public Policy Award in recognition and in honor of the most significant role Senator Reid has played in our efforts to make a life-saving difference in the lives of the most vulnerable of our fellow citizens,”
“Through his own story, Senator Reid has inspired others to speak up,” Jerry Reed said. “He knows that by letting people know that hope and help are available, we can make a difference through prevention, treatment and aftercare support. The Aevidum students are a shining example of this approach and their simple but powerful message of “I’ve got your back” conveys to other students that they are not alone.”
Senator Reid is devoted to promoting suicide prevention and mental health services for all Americans. With help from advocates, clinicians, researchers, and survivors, Senator Reid spearheaded the National Suicide Prevention Strategy which created a comprehensive suicide prevention framework. He helped pass the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act which funded research, training, and technical assistance to prevent youth suicide. Senator Reid introduced the Stop Senior Suicide Act which improved interagency coordination and increased funding for the treatment of mental, psychoneurotic, and personality disorders for seniors. Senator Reid also helped to secure passage of a mental health parity law which ensures that mental illnesses are treated on par with physical illnesses.
About the American Association of Suicidology (AAS)
AAS is a leader in the advancement of scientific and programmatic efforts in suicide prevention through research, education and training, the development of standards and resources, and survivor support services. AAS members includes mental health and public health professionals, researchers, suicide prevention and crisis intervention centers, school districts, crisis center volunteers, survivors of suicide and a variety of lay persons who have an interest in suicide prevention.
About the National Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)
SPRC is the nation’s only federally supported resource center devoted to advancing the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. SPRC provides technical assistance, training, and materials to increase the knowledge and expertise of suicide prevention practitioners and other professionals serving people at risk for suicide.
Aevidum is a depression and suicide education awareness initiative started at Cocalico High School. Informed adults empower middle school and high school students to learn about the warning signs of depression and to understand how depression is a treatable illness. Aevidum is a word made up to mean “I’ve got your back,” and it is used as a message of hope among organization members. The goal is to save lives by forming Aevidum organizations in other middle and high schools.