KidsPeace Clinical Director Dr. Peter Langman was recently elected as the first President of the newly formed American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), Lehigh Valley Chapter. Until now AFSP has not had a program based in the area, and the arrival of this new resource is being hailed as an important development by local health and social services officials. Suicide is the third-leading cause of death among young people today and the 11th overall with some 32,000 people killing themselves each year.                                  

“Suicide is a rising health threat, and the pressures of the last two years have only increased the dangers,” says Dr. Langman. “My goals over the next year are to help decrease the stigma related to depression, suicide and mental health issues in general, increase awareness of the warning signs of suicide risk and increase knowledge of the locally available resources such as TeenCentral.Net to help those in crisis.” As president, Langman will also be the principal spokesperson for the chapter on all scientific, medical, and programmatic matters.

Langman has been very active with Lehigh Valley suicide prevention efforts for many years, helping to organize and expand the scope of the annual “Out of the Darkness” walk and awareness event. He has encouraged KidsPeace associates and clients to participate in these walks, and the presence of KidsPeace has also increased over the past few years.

This new chapter of the foundation will include representatives of several local organizations including the Allentown Health Bureau, Lehigh County Crisis Intervention, Lehigh Valley Health Network, Lehigh County AAA and St. Luke’s Hospital. Langman is hoping to promote suicide prevention and awareness throughout the Lehigh Valley throughout the year, culminating in an even larger walk in the fall.