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The Aegis Opinion

Letter: For Suicide Prevention Month, push for Congress to create three-digit phone number for national hotline | READER COMMENTARY

September is Suicide Prevention Month and it’s that we be 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 (House of Representatives 4194 and Senate 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.

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Suicide is generally an impulsive action while in a crisis state. An easy three-digit number might make the difference between life and death when someone is not in a frame of mind to do a Google search for help. Despite having survived a devastating suicide loss, I could not tell you what the current number is without an internet search. You would think, of all people, I might know this number off of the top of my head, given that I lost someone close to me. Yet, I don’t. 988 is easy to remember without having to look it up. Please urge our government to take this small step to help save lives. Suicide is preventable. We just have to make it the harder choice.

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

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Together, we #KeepGoing.

DALE GOMEZ

Joppa


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