Skip to main content

2023 AFSPGala & Leadership Conference

18th Annual Chapter Leadership Conference

Each year, AFSP chapter volunteers and staff gather from across the country for the Chapter Leadership Conference. This annual event is an opportunity for those who passionately mobilize their local communities around suicide prevention efforts to reflect on the past year's accomplishments, learn from each other's experiences and expertise, and reinvigorate our collective efforts toward a future without suicide.

In January of 2023, over 400 chapter volunteers and staff attended this special gathering in Seattle to hear stories of hope and healing, and to reflect on how far we've come and where we need to go from here. The theme of this year's event was "Now, More Than Ever," and participants represented all 74 chapters across the country and Puerto Rico.

During the Awards Dinner, the Indiana Chapter was named Richard B. Kirchhoff Overall Chapter of the Year, for its excellence in areas including prevention and education, advocacy, research, and fundraising. The chapter's remarkable recent successes — including a significant increase in social media reach, and an initiative that provided over 600 funeral homes across the state with resources for suicide loss survivors — have been indispensable to AFSP's continued impact. The Awards Dinner also honored the Alaska, Michigan, and Maryland Chapters for their Chapter Diversity Equity and Inclusion efforts, the first award of its kind. These four amazing chapters are just a small sample of the incredible work that all 74 of our chapters accomplish throughout the year.

34th Annual Lifesavers Gala

Each year, AFSP's Lifesavers Gala proudly honors scientists, public policy advocates, loss and attempt survivors, and others leading the fight to stop suicide. Gala award recipients have made outstanding contributions to the cause, and are much-needed beacons of hope for those affected by suicide. The Gala is also an important opportunity to raise funds for AFSP’s leading research, education, advocacy, and support initiatives –– and for our community to look back on the past year’s accomplishments.

This year’s Lifesavers Gala, held at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, was hosted by Emmy Award-winning anchor and reporter Cindy Hsu of CBS New York. Hsu uses her media platform to share her own personal battle with depression, with the hope of helping others struggling with mental health challenges. This impactful event featured these distinguished and inspiring honorees:

  • Ashley Judd is a celebrated actor, New York Times bestselling author, and a United Nations Population Fund Goodwill Ambassador; Ashley lost her beloved mother Naomi to suicide in 2022, and she is now a fierce advocate for mental health, suicide prevention, and responsible reporting on suicide
  • Audacy is a leading multi-platform audio content and entertainment company, founder of the I'm Listening mental health initiative, and dedicated AFSP partner
  • Doug Middleton is an NFL Veteran and founder of Dream the Impossible, a nonprofit organization for mental health awareness that focuses on reversing the rates of death by suicide, especially in the Black community; After losing his best friend and fellow athlete AJ Morrison to suicide, Doug wanted to share what he learned from this experience with others who might be struggling in silence
  • Madelyn Gould, Ph.D., M.P.H. is Irving Philips Professor of Epidemiology in Psychiatry at Columbia University, and her extensive research on youth psychiatric epidemiology has laid the groundwork for many state, national, and international suicide prevention programs
  • Rory O'Connor, Ph.D., FRSE, FAcSS is Professor of Health Psychology and Director of the Suicidal Behaviour Research Laboratory at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, and a leading researcher in the field of suicidal behavior and self-harm

We wish to thank this year’s Gala Chair, Cara McNulty (President, Behavioral Health and Mental Well-Being for CVS Health), and our sponsors: CVS Health, Sunovion, The Columbia Lighthouse Project, Crowe, Otsuka Pharmaceutical, Axsome Therapeutics, Boehringer Ingelheim, CBS New York, Charlie Health, DonorDrive, Headway, Horizon, Janssen Neuroscience Research & Development, Lundbeck, Nomi Health, NovaWell, Real Chemistry, Sage Therapeutics and Biogen, SCYNEXIS, Troutman Pepper, Viatris, AbleTo, Allison+Partners, BCG, Carelon, Everytown for Gun Safety, OptimizeRx, and Relmada Therapeutics.