Congress needs to enact a national suicide hotline

  • Nadia Elmaksoud, of Kansas City, Mo., holds a photograph of herself, right, with Micah Porter, left, and other friends while visiting a memorial for Porter in White River Junction, Vt., Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Porter died by suicide last weekend. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to James M. Patterson

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Published: 9/16/2020 3:04:56 PM

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.

This public health issue has personally affected me. My life was changed forever when I lost my own beloved mom to suicide, who was only age 58. I do not want any more families to suffer this tragic loss. I do not want people who are already suffering the intense pain of depression to also have to feel shame over it. Help needs to be more prevalent, accessible and normalized. Mental health should be prioritized as much as physical health is, and the prejudice and discrimination against people with mental illness needs to end.

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

Together, we #KeepGoing.

Jen Matoney


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