On their GuideStar profile under “accomplishments so far” I see this:
Since its founding in 1987, AFSP has:
- Mobilized & connected tens of thousands of people who have lost a family member, loved one, or friend to suicide
- Reached thousands of individuals who are at risk for suicide, as well as those who love and care for them
- Attracted the participation of members of the scientific and clinical communities, who conduct groundbreaking research on suicide and its prevention with support from AFSP
- Established local chapters in all 50 states
- Educated hundreds of local communities about suicide and how to prevent it
- Created a public policy and lobbying arm by merging successfully with an existing national policy organization, thus enabling AFSP to press for legislation and policies at the federal, state and local levels that advance the goal of preventing suicide
- Substantially increased our funding from individual donors, including the thousands of highly motivated individuals who participate in our Out of the Darkness Walks
As for the question of how they know if they’re making progress:
In addition to our continued efforts above, AFSP has launched Project 2025, an unprecedented initiative which began with an in-depth analysis of who we are losing to suicide, where we are losing them, and how we are losing them. Drawing on input from a national advisory panel of the leading experts in suicide prevention, AFSP identified four critical areas our country needs to invest in to have the greatest impact on reducing loss of life from suicide: firearms and suicide prevention, emergency departments, large health care systems, and justice settings. If we work collectively to expand programs and interventions in these four critical areas, we can cumulatively expect to save more than 20,000 lives through 2025.
I’ll keep an eye out for statistics about lives saved over past 30 years, but I don’t know how they’d measure that with confidence. There are so many factors!