Suicide Prevention is Everyone's Business
AAS is a charitable, nonprofit membership organization
50th Annual AAS Conference - Phoenix, AZ

Press Release for Local Media
   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: (April 11, 2017) 
Amy Kulp, M.S.
Interim Executive Director American Association of Suicidology
Office: 202-237-2280
Cell: 410-746-2588 

Julie Cerel, PhD
American Association of Suicidology

American Association of Suicidology Hosts 50th Annual Conference
Honoring the Past; Innovating for the Future 

Phoenix, AZ: In 2015, Arizona lost 1,276 people to suicide—one person every seven hours. Arizona is ranked 13th in the country in terms of suicide deaths. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death nationally, and the 8th leading cause of death in Arizona. Suicide rates continue to climb steadily, and the American Association of Suicidology (AAS) recognizes that a multifaceted, multidisciplinary approach to suicide prevention is the only way to reduce suicide deaths. Amy Kulp, Interim Executive Director of AAS reminds us, “AAS founders laid the groundwork on which many of today’s clinical interventions, prevention and postvention programs, and research are based. AAS is honored to have been part of the field’s history, and looks forward to continuing our leadership well into the future. Because one life lost to suicide is one too many.” We anticipate over 1,000 attendees to this year’s conference.

The first ever AAS Innovations Summit, showcasing this field’s most groundbreaking work, will take place on Friday, April 28th 2017, during the 50th Annual AAS Conference. This event, featuring local, premiere stakeholders is a provocative tour through some of the most exciting, life-saving products promising to change the state of the public and veteran behavioral health care systems and services in Arizona. The goal of these presentations is to galvanize support for new partnerships and foster interdisciplinary collaborations for the best new research in the suicide prevention industry.

"We know much more about suicidality and suicide prevention than we did when the AAS conference began 50 years ago. Over the last five decades, our field has strengthened and joined together to bring suicide out of the shadow of shame and into the light of hope. Today, conversations about suicide no longer focus on hopelessness, despair, or inevitability, but instead recovery, connectedness and resiliency. And just recently, our field took another important step toward strengthening efforts by uniting around a common, defined and achievable goal of reducing the annual suicide rate 20 percent by 2025.” - Jerry Reed, Director, Suicide Prevention Resource Center, Zero Suicide

"In 2014, AAS was the first organization to give suicide attempt survivors a voice at their table. The next 50 years of suicide prevention work will be defined by that inclusion; folks with lived expertise of suicidality and suicide loss will work as equals, alongside clinicians, researchers, and crisis teams, toward the shared goal of saving lives,” says Dese’Rae L. Stage, creator of Live Through This.

“Phoenix will be my twelfth conference, and every year I’ve seen the organization pursue better science, and also share solutions that can make a difference now. AAS has done both,” says David Covington, incoming president-elect. AAS, its partners, collaborators, and suicide prevention stakeholders look forward to the coming decades when suicide rates will be dramatically reduced, or even eliminated altogether by addressing it head-on as a preventable, public health issue.

Innovators and Presentations Include (full program book can be found here):

Presentation: Panelists will discuss the current climate of behavioral healthcare in Arizona, across the country, and how local efforts can translate into the future of progressive mental health services.

Presentation: 42CFR, Data Privacy and the future of the Health Information Exchange

Presentation: Building an Ecosystem of Support for Veteran Suicide Prevention

Jerry Reed - Director, Suicide Prevention Resource Center, Zero Suicide

A special documentary screening event will also be featured at this year’s conference:

The S Word Documentary Screening and Panel (Wednesday, April 27th, 8 p.m.): Showcase Screening of The S Word, a feature-length documentary by award-winning director Lisa Klein (Of Two Minds). This documentary follows suicide attempt survivors, loss survivors, and features interviews from suicide prevention experts to open the conversation about suicide in the public sphere (needs re-wording). This premiere screening will be followed by a panel with Lisa Klein, Dr. April Foreman, Dr. Bill Schmitz, and Dese’Rae L. Stage. Tickets to the screening will also be available for purchase by the general public.

To schedule interviews with any of the presenters above, please feel free to contact them with the information provided. You may also contact Amy Kulp, Interim Executive Director of AAS.

For the Media: Responsible reporting on suicide, including stories of hope and resilience, can prevent more suicides. Please visit the Reporting on Suicide guidelines for more information.

About AAS: Founded in 1968 by Edwin S. Shneidman, PhD, AAS promotes research, public awareness programs, public education and training for professionals and volunteers. The membership of AAS includes mental health and public health professionals, researchers, suicide prevention and crisis intervention centers, school districts, crisis center volunteers, survivors of suicide loss, attempt survivors, and a variety of lay persons who have in interest in suicide prevention. You can learn more about AAS at


Press Kit
Click here to download the AAS Annual Conference Press Kit [PDF]

AAS Congratulates the 2017 Award Winners

Crisis Center of Excellence Award
Heart of Florida United Way 2-1-1

Dublin Award
Eric D. Caine, MD

Roger J. Tierney Award for Service
Morton M. Silverman, MD
AAS gratefully acknowledges  funding for this award provided by LivingWorks

Shneidman Award
Courtney Bagge, PhD

Survivor of the Year Award
Katie Rose Hardy

Transforming Lived Experience Award

Dese'Rae L. Stage


Professional Poster Awards
Thursday Professional: Debbie Tauiliili
Friday Professional: Ryan Hill

Reg Brochure
50th Annual Conference
April 26 - 29, 2017      
Hyatt Regency
Phoenix, AZ


Program Book
Click here to download the Program Book for the 50th Annual Conference [PDF]

Become a Volunteer
Click here to learn more
If you enjoy being part of a dedicated, energetic team, and have a desire to work shoulder-to-shoulder with AAS leaders, we'd love to hear from you! Spaces are limited, 

Sponsor/Exhibitor Prospectus

Click here to download Prospectus 

Maximize visibility for your organization, product, or service! Multiple sponsorship options are available, including one-of-a-kind opportunities. Interested in sponsoring a conference event or product you don’t see listed? Email Amy Kulp, Interim Executive Director, at 

Call for Papers
Deadline for submissions was October 31, 2016.

Register today for the 7th Annual National LOSS Team Conference, a two-day conference on suicide postvention that is being held the same week as the 50th Annual AAS Conference - at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Phoenix. Take this opportunity to participate in both of these events!

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