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Easy access to mental health help crucial to suicide prevention

Dear Editor:

September is Suicide Prevention Month and it’s important that we are there for each other and take steps to prevent suicide. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s theme for the month is to #KeepGoing, by taking simple actions to safeguard our mental health and save lives. From learning the warning signs for suicide and what to do if you are worried someone is struggling, to bringing education programs to your community, we can all learn new ways to help each other save lives.

One action I’m taking is to urge my public officials to prioritize suicide prevention and mental health. When someone is in acute crisis, it’s hard for them to think clearly, and even reaching out for help can be a struggle. For this reason, it is vital that Congress pass the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act (H.R.4194/S.2661) to make a three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline a reality. This legislation will provide the funding and resources needed by crisis centers across the country that support those struggling with their mental health and thoughts of suicide.

My son died by suicide in 2011. He was a son, brother, uncle, and United States soldier.  In my heart I wonder if he had easy access to mental health help he might be here today.  Someone in crisis does not have a rational thought process.  Please don’t add to their frustration if in a brief moment of clarity they could dial 3 numbers for help.

In this time of uncertainty, we all need to find new ways to connect and support each other.

Together, we #KeepGoing.

Sincerely,

Sue Berghaus
Gilbert

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