Dear Editor:May is Mental Health Month. By urging my public officials to prioritize suicide prevention, mental health, and crisis care, I am hoping to influence collective change to support …
May is Mental Health Month. By urging my public officials to prioritize suicide prevention, mental health, and crisis care, I am hoping to influence collective change to support #MentalHealth4All.
Right now, individuals in crisis are able to call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress and those that care for them. Soon, it will be much easier to remember how to reach the Lifeline as the number will be changing to "988" nationwide by July 2022.
Knowing this, it is critically important that states pass legislation NOW to reliably fund 988 and their state's crisis response system, just as we fund 911 and emergency services - through small fees on our phone bills. Reliable funding will help to ensure all 988 callers can reach a counselor in their own state who is familiar with and can connect them with local resources. Culturally competent support and local connections can better help all callers through their crisis and in their recovery.
Suicide prevention education is profoundly important to me. I've attempted suicide three times and I'm a survivor of suicide; my ex-husband killed himself at my place of work in 1997. Suicide, whether the one contemplating it or the one touched by it because of a loved one, leaves a mark on you. I've made it my mission to advocate for those struggling with mental illness and advocate for mental health education in underserved communities. Only through education and support in our communities can we hope to overcome this
Join me this month in urging your public officials to fund 988. We all play a role in changing the culture around mental health. Together, we can ensure #MentalHealth4All.