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Suicide Prevention in America: A Historical Overview

1956 Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Center opens with first suicide hotline
1957 Ed Shneidman and Norman Faberow publish Clues to Suicide
1967 Center for Studies of Suicide Prevention established within the National Institute of Mental Health
1968 First National Conference on Suicidology held in Chicago, IL; American Association of Suicidology (AAS) Founded
1970 NIMH sponsors Task Force meeting in Phoenix culminating in publication of landmark document: Suicide Prevention in the ‘70’s
1971 Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior publishes Volume 1, Issue 1.
1976 AAS establishes crisis center certification program and certifies its first crisis center
1978 Survivors of Suicide formed
1982 Iris Bolton publishes My Son…My Son…: A Guide to Healing After a Suicide in the Family
1986 Department of Health and Human Services convenes Task Force on Youth Suicide which publishes (in 1989) the four-volume Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Youth Suicide.
1987 American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) Founded
1988 Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) holds first national suicide awareness memorial at the State Capitol in St. Paul, MN
1989 SAVE is incorporated in Minneapolis, MN
  First Healing After Suicide Conference
1993 World Health Organization (WHO) International conference on suicide in Calgary, Canada
1994 Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program founded
1995 Life Keepers Foundation starts memory quilt project
  Washington was the first state to launch a plan to prevent suicide
  Suicide Awareness and Prevention Week becomes nationally recognized
1996 United Nation Guidelines for National Strategies published
  Suicide Prevention Action Network (SPAN) Founded
1997 S. Res. 84 and H. Res. 212 recognizing suicide as a national problem and its prevention a national priority
  The Jason Foundation was founded – suicide prevention among youth
1998 Reno National Conference
  Trevor Project Founded offering a toll-free hotline to gay teens
  The National Organization for People of Color Against Suicide (NOPCAS) is formed
1999 Surgeon General’s Call to action to Prevent Suicide
  The National Council of Suicide Prevention (NCSP) is established
  First National Survivors of Suicide Day
2000 $9 million Federal grant funds national crisis line
  Jed Foundation Founded -- suicide prevention for college students
2001 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention published
  Reporting on Suicide: Recommendations for the Media published
2002 Institute of Medicine releases Reducing Suicide: A National Imperative
  $9 million Federal funding for national Suicide Prevention Resource Center
  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention starts the National Violent Death Reporting System and helps track suicide death data
2003 Final Report from President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health
2004 $9 million Federal grant for National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
  Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act signed as first significant Federal grant program directed specifically at suicide prevention
  Efforts to assemble a Best Practice Registry for suicide prevention begin
2005 Federal Mental Health Action Agenda
  Congress reauthorizes funding for national Suicide Prevention Resource Center
  First grants awarded under Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act
  Thomas Joiner publishes Why People Die by Suicide
2006 Suicide prevention is included for the first time ever in SAMHSA Priority Matrix
  Federal Work Group on Suicide Prevention formed
2007 Joshua Omvig Veterans Suicide Prevention Act signed
  $14.5 million Federal grant for National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
  Veterans Administration designates suicide prevention coordinators and Veterans’ hotline launched
2008 Federal Mental Health Parity signed
  Blue Ribbon Work Group on Suicide Prevention in Veterans Population established
2009 AFSP and SPAN Merge
  Formation of Department of Defense Task Force on Suicide Prevention
  First New Media/Suicide Prevention Summit
  First National Suicide Prevention 24/7 chat established (for Veterans)
  Defense Authorization Act of 2009 includes provision for training in community healing/response to suicide for Guard and Reserves
2010 $50 million from Department of Defense to build the Military Suicide Research Consortium
  NCSP working with the American Psychological Association (APA) to include suicide in the DSM-V
  Army Stand Down for Suicide Prevention
  National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention established