Counselor and Licensed Social Worker, Jane Lewins, Currently Advocating in Washington D.C.

Below is a brief description of what she will be advocating for while in D.C.:

Support Federal Investment in Data Collection (NVDRS) – To design effective suicide prevention strategies, we must first have complete, accurate and timely information about deaths by suicide. The National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) provides this information, which is essential to improve state and federal suicide prevention activities. Current funding of $3.5 million allows only 18 states to participate in this program. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention urges Congress to appropriate the full $25 million necessary to implement the NVDRS in all 50 states. President Obama supports full funding in FY 2014.


Sign on in Support of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) – The Mental Health First Aid Act (S. 153/H.R. 274) was introduced in the Senate by Senators Mark Begich (D-AK) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) with 9 bipartisan co-sponsors, and in the House by Representative Ron Barber (D-AZ). MHFA is a public education program that helps people identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance abuse. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention urges Members of Congress to cosponsor this important legislation.

 

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Volunteer Testifies Before Ohio Senate Education Committee On Wednesday, November 14, 2012.

AFSP volunteer, Jane Lewins, provided oral testimony to the Ohio Senate Education Committee Hearing on the Jason Flatt Act (HB 543). The bill requires teachers, counselors, school nurses, school psychologists, and administrators in schools across Ohio to receive training in youth suicide awareness and prevention.

Jane shared her own powerful story of how she has been personally impacted by the unexpected suicide of her 18 year old son, Micah Kellen Lewins in January of 2011. Jane described how the overwhelming support of her community and the legacy of her son’s vibrant life has propelled her into working in the field of Surviving Suicide Loss, but also to equip parents and school personnel with the tools to discern and respond to the silent cries of our youth. She stated in her testimony, “we do a disservice, to parents and teachers, if we do not give them the tools to know what they are seeing, to hear what is not being said, respond to the subtleties and the knowledge to act appropriately when a student is at risk.”

In its 2011 Youth Risk Behavioral Report for Ohio, the Center for Disease Control reported that one in seven Ohio students said they had “seriously considered suicide” in the past 12 months. Slightly more than one in seven had actually “made a plan to end their life” in that time. Additionally, one in 11 Ohio students reported “attempting suicide one or more times in the past 12 months, nearly 50% higher than the National average. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in Ohio among students between the ages of 15 and 24.

The Bill passed unanimously in the House and Senate and was signed into Ohio law as Jane Lewins looked on, December 20, 2012.

Jane will continue to work with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and at her private practice as a Social Worker with CJ Hendry and Associates to assist with implementing Suicide Prevention Training in the State of Ohio.