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Congress must take action to reduce suicides | READER COMMENTARY

If someone battling suicidal thoughts is willing to ask for help, the phone line where counselors can be reached 24 hours a day should be as easy to remember and as speedy to dial as 911, advocates say.
If someone battling suicidal thoughts is willing to ask for help, the phone line where counselors can be reached 24 hours a day should be as easy to remember and as speedy to dial as 911, advocates say. (Dreamstime / TNS)

In this time of uncertainty, it is especially important to take care of our mental health. That is why, on June 22, I will be taking part in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s virtual 2020 Advocacy Forum. As part of the event, I along with thousands of advocates across the country will be reaching out to members of Congress to urge their support of the suicide prevention legislation and policies that we know can save lives (“How to flatten the suicide curve that is rising during the pandemic: Do not own a gun,” June 10).

I will be asking for increased federal funding for suicide research, continued support for suicide prevention programs and resources for veterans and service members and for Congress to pass the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act (H.R. 4194/S. 2661), making 988 the future, easy-to-remember phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

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Having experienced suicidal ideation myself, I know first hand how important it is for quick and easy access to getting help, treatment, etc. I have lost friends and members of my community to suicide. Suicide is preventable and it’s high time we start having open and honest conversations about our health (physical and mental) and well-being.

Join me by contacting your members of Congress and asking them to support these policies, and visit afsp.org/advocacy to learn more about AFSP’s advocacy and how you can make an impact in your community. Together, we are saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide.

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Dan Celdran, Greenbelt

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