The suicide rate from 1999 to 2014 increased by 24 percent, from 10.5 per 100,000 to 13 per 100,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC. That represents an increase of 1 to 2 percent per year, affecting almost every state and demographic.Suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The deaths represent on average 113 suicides per day and more than 41,100 lives each year, at a cost to the U.S. economy of more than $51 billion dollars annually in lost work and medical costs.

Shortly after completing a national exam that would certify him as a master counselor in 1995, David Covington took a phone call from a distressed middle-aged man. “He was calling me to basically tell the world goodbye,” said Covington, of Magellan Health Services, which contracts with the Arizona Department of Health to serve as the regional behavioral health authority for Maricopa County. “He had a shotgun and was going to shoot himself.”

Ten state legislatures have formed caucuses to educate legislators about  mental health policy issues.  Through these caucuses legislators and mental health champions work together on a variety of state mental health issues, such as funding, coverage and access and criminal justice.