September is Suicide Prevention Month, Tell Congress We Can #StopSuicide | Opinions

Dear Editor,

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. As a volunteer advocate for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, I call on my members of Congress to pass legislation to prevent suicides and support crisis care.

I myself have lost a loved one to suicide, and I know how prevalent it is in our community, and also how often it goes unaddressed, especially among teenagers.

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline must be sustainably funded so that confidential, voluntary services by trained counselors are accessible. HR7116, the 988 Implementation Act, would provide federal funding and state guidance for 988 crisis services across the country.

An alternative to 911 for mental health crises, 988 connects callers to Lifeline centers. These centers defuse 98% of crisis calls without dispatching emergency services. Well-resourced crisis support systems can connect callers with local resources, including someone to talk to (call centres), someone to respond to (mobile crisis teams ) and a place to go (crisis stabilization centers). We must ensure that every state has the capacity to provide comprehensive crisis response services to help save lives.

For more information, visit afsp.org/988.

Join me in urging Congress to take action to #StopSuicide!

Sincerely,

Taylor Hawthorne

Herndon

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