Sarasota Managing Director recognized for suicide prevention efforts
Commercial real estate brokerage firm SVN International has awarded Ashley Bloom, managing director of the company’s SVN Lotus Commercial Real Estate Advisors affiliate, in Sarasota, with its annual Humanitarian of the Year Award.
Bloom was honored with the peer-nominated award for his work to prevent suicides during the company’s annual conference, which was held this year in Palm Springs, Calif. In early March.
“A big part of the problem is the stigma of suicide, which keeps people from talking about it,” Bloom says. “If somebody’s parent dies of a heart attack, nobody’s afraid to tell the story. With suicide, it’s different. But we’re working to remove that stigma and get people talking.”
Bloom’s father and grandmother both took their own lives, as did a few friends and high school classmates.
“It’s mind boggling when you consider that suicide takes more lives each year than natural disasters, murder and war,” he adds. “There are over one million attempts every year and it’s the 10th leading cause of death. Despite all that, suicide prevention is greatly underfunded.”
To rectify that problem, Bloom has raised significant amounts of money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Southwest Florida chapter. Last year, a prevention walk he helped organize raised $200,000, a 130% increase from previous efforts, which received recognition from the group’s national leadership.
In June, Bloom plans to walk 16 miles in New York City to raise money and awareness for the cause.
He also addressed the Florida Legislature about the issue in late February.
“Suicide rates in Florida are higher than the national average, so we need to push for more funding of programs, education and treatment,” Bloom told lawmakers.
Boston-based SVN operates in more than 200 markets worldwide. In Florida, the company has more than 100 agents.