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AFSP Announces New “Talk Away the Dark” Campaign to Save Lives through Brave Conversations about Suicide

May 15, 2023 – 4 min read


A dad and daughter sit at a table togther talking in a dark room

[New York] May 15, 2023 — The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the nation’s leading suicide prevention organization, is launching a powerful year-long campaign, “Talk Away the Dark,” to prompt direct conversations about suicide in order to save lives. With this campaign, targeting a wide audience of 26-70 year-olds, AFSP strives to show the life-saving impact of simple, direct dialogue about suicide and show people how to initiate those conversations, when they are more important than ever. According to the CDC, suicide rates are up in the United States, with suicide deaths increasing from 45,979 to 48,183 between the years 2020 and 2021. 

While we have made great strides as a society in talking about mental health, people are often still hesitant to talk directly about suicide. And yet, research has shown that suicide is preventable and the more we openly, honestly, and directly talk about suicide, the more we can help to prevent it. 

The focal point of the campaign, launched timed with Mental Health Awareness Month, is a public service announcement (PSA) titled, “Talk Away the Dark.” The PSA, produced by TBWA\Chiat\Day New York through a pro bono partnership with AFSP, depicts a daughter having brave conversations with her father after recognizing a series of common warning signs of suicidal ideation, such as isolating from friends, giving away meaningful possessions, and feeling like a burden. She persistently tries to engage with him as he is visually pulled further into darkness. The PSA ends with the daughter asking her father directly about suicide and ultimately bringing him back from the shadows and into the light. Its message is clear: we can’t begin to address suicide if we don’t take the first step and start the conversation. This campaign was developed in consultation with expert Madelyn Gould, PhD, MPH to ensure safe portrayal of suicidal risk. 

“In the past several years, we have made tremendous progress as a society in our openness surrounding mental health. However, many people who have become more comfortable talking generally about mental health are still unsure about what to do when someone they know is struggling with their mental health,” said AFSP CEO Robert Gebbia. “AFSP’s Talk Away the Dark campaign is a powerful reminder that conversations can be life-saving, and we all have the ability to help. While suicide is complex and words alone may not solve the problem, the only way we can begin to address it is if we start to talk about it more openly with those around us.”

"I have experienced loss from suicide, so our work on this is incredibly meaningful to me on a personal level," said TBWA\Chiat\Day New York Chief Creative Officer Amy Ferguson. "Suicide is an issue that affects so many, yet we don’t talk about it enough. Our platform and PSA campaign were created to help change that. To be able to partner with AFSP and put the talent and efforts of our agency to use on such an important issue is so incredibly rewarding and meaningful. We hope to continue to work with this amazing organization and to help bring conversations around suicide out into the open."

To kick off the campaign, AFSP will be hosting a virtual event with experts and live screening of the PSA on May 16 at 4 p.m. ET and you can tune in on AFSP’s Instagram channel. The discussion will address the “Talk Away the Dark” film, and best practices and takeaways for having important mental health conversations with your loved ones. In addition, the PSA will appear nationwide across broadcast, digital, social, and print. The campaign also connects with Spanish-speaking communities, offering translated resources. To get involved in the conversation, please visit for more information and to join the discussion on social media using the #TalkAwaytheDark hashtag. 

More information about how to engage in meaningful conversations about mental health can be found at

The PSA is available in 15, 30, and 60-second spots. Please contact if interested in supporting the campaign.


About The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide, including those who have experienced a loss. AFSP creates a culture that's smart about mental health through public education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, and with a public policy office in Washington, D.C., AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states and Puerto Rico with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.  

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