We have read and listened over the past week as many of you shared criticisms related to the handling of our former CEO’s separation from AAS. We know more explanation is overdue, and we want to do better by you today.

The first thing we’d like to address is our initial communications effort and the related issues that have been rightfully called out. This separation was never meant to be a public spectacle, quite the opposite in fact. We believed we had an agreement in place that would maintain privacy, allowing for a graceful, no-fault exit. At all times, we acted as discreetly as was possible to afford the affected person every opportunity to separate without anyone sacrificing dignity. When things reached a point where we felt we had to make a public announcement we rushed it, and in the process created more confusion, concern, and stress. For that we apologize.

While the reality is that we cannot disclose the specifics of employment decisions or why someone was let go, we can tell you that we have verified all bylaws were followed during this process in consultation with our legal team, that the executive committee confirmed a consensus to move forward with separation, after further review of the facts at hand voted a second time at a second meeting, with five in favor, and one opposed. At two further meetings, the Executive committee was unanimous in its vote of the severance package.

A decision to part ways with an executive is never made lightly, but we are confident it is the right move for AAS.

We know there are also questions about the immediate future of our organization and how we will drive ahead in our mission to save lives. While this is a time of change, we’re still here, and we’re working hard every day to support a cause we know is worthwhile. We have full faith in our strong, experienced central office team and expect no interruption to ongoing projects, or the trainings, accreditations, membership engagement efforts, communications work, and other services you’ve come to expect from AAS.

We’re far from perfect, and we know it. We are striving to do right by our members, our partners, and our community, and the willingness of many to have tough conversations and ask hard questions while still supporting AAS, and more importantly supporting suicide prevention and education, has been inspiring. We are lucky to have so many amazing people who care about our organization and its mission, and appreciate your patience, understanding, and acceptance as we work to improve.

We realize there will be individuals who want more information, or perhaps items we’ve missed that need addressing directly, and we’re here to talk. The best route to get in touch directly is to reach out to Amy Kulp at leadership@suicidology.org where we will respond as quickly as possible.