Chief Executive Officer
Director of Public Relations and Media
Washington, D.C. (November 12, 2020): The American Association of Suicidology (AAS) is proud to host AAS21, its 54th Annual Conference, April 21 – 24, 2021. The conference will take place via a unique format – both in person in Orlando, Florida at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista Hotel and also virtually for those across the globe. This hybrid approach will enable AAS to critically broaden its conference impact at such a pivotal time. At its annual conference, AAS provides the time and space for everyone – clinicians, researchers, those with lived experience, public health officials, and others – to connect and learn about ways in which we can all address the rising rate of suicide in the US and abroad while also discovering ways to create a world worth living in.
“AAS21 will be unlike any conference we have ever hosted. Our plan to host live sessions in Orlando along with virtual sessions will afford the opportunity to provide the same content expected at an AAS conference,” said Becky Stoll, AAS21 Conference Chair and AAS Crisis Services Division Chair. “We are doing everything in our power to host a portion of the conference in person if it is safe to do so and we also know how to successfully pivot if necessary.”
AAS21 will focus on blending diverse content, including new and innovative research and intervention practices. The conference will meet the needs of the field’s diverse audience while convening world leaders in suicide prevention to spur robust conversations and to build collaborations to achieve our shared vision and goal. AAS21 will bring balance and stability to a field that has experienced a tremendous amount of change and growth in the last year, relying on the cross-pollination of specialties and expertise of attendees to break down barriers and silos that have traditionally stalled effective solutions. True, effective, public health and socially-focused suicide prevention requires everyone’s voice to find a path forward, while continuing to recognizing the accomplishments of past science and research. The field must move from reactionary efforts to effective implementation of research, prevention, and treatment.
“We know that people are able to recover and grow after a crisis. The global crises of 2020 have disrupted our norms, but they also provide an opportunity for innovative solutions like offering the field a hybrid conference,” said DeQuincy Lezine, AAS21 Program Chair and AAS Attempt Survivor and Lived Experience Division Chair. “AAS has always sought to bring people together so that the knowledge from professional and personal experience can be applied to address suicide, and the world needs that more than ever. AAS21 will enable us to safely and effectively bring expertise to the table from around the world.”
In 2018 (the latest year for which we have finalized data) there were 48,344 suicide deaths in the US, an age adjusted rate of 14.2 per 100,000 population. In the same year there were nearly 1.2 million suicide attempts. Unfortunately, we don’t know how the recent pandemic and instances of civil unrest will affect suicide deaths in the US and abroad, but it is our responsibility to take action now. By hosting this conference, AAS holds suicidologists and the field at large to a higher standard in how we care for our fellow humans. More information about AAS21 can be found here.
“I’m really excited about the design and structure of this year’s conference as there is something for everyone. From the key in-person networking and conversations that are integral to spurring new collaborative projects to the broadened reach that online options provide, this hybrid approach will not disappoint” said Colleen Creighton, CEO of AAS.
For the Media: Responsible reporting on suicide, including stories of hope and resilience, can prevent more suicides. Please visit the Suicide Reporting Recommendations for more information. For additional information, please visit SuicideReportingToolkit.com.
About AAS: The American Association of Suicidology is the world’s largest membership-based suicide prevention organization. Founded in 1968 by Edwin S. Shneidman, PhD, AAS promotes the research of suicide and its prevention, 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 professionals, survivors of suicide loss, attempt survivors, and a variety of laypersons who have in interest in suicide prevention. You can learn more about AAS at www.suicidology.org.