Reach Out a Helping Hand to Individuals on the Brink of Suicide

Target: Lamar Alexander, Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee

Goal: Fund suicide prevention efforts on the federal level.

In the wake of two well-known public figures taking their own lives, renewed focus has been placed on suicide and mental health. Across the United States alone, suicide consistently places as one of the top ten causes of death. For youth, these numbers are even grimmer, with suicide ranking as the number two cause of death for adolescents.

Tragically, for years this has remained an unspoken and unacknowledged crisis. Funding for the treatment of mental illness – one of the primary contributors to suicidal thoughts and actions – continues to be slashed under the current administration. Some states have bravely tackled the epidemic of youth suicide by passing legislation that requires any licensed education professional to undergo training for suicide prevention, training that includes recognizing signs and offering outreach to at-risk young people. Only about half of states have implemented such a policy, however. Lesser still are the number of states that have a mandate for suicide prevention programs and curriculum within their schools. A federal law that provides grants for such programs was passed nearly fifteen years ago. Funding for this incredibly important initiative has been depleted as well, however.

Senator minority leader Chuck Schumer has advocated strongly for a restoration of funds to this initiative and to other vital suicide prevention tools, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Sign the petition below to support these efforts that will help ensure more lives are not lost far too soon.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Senator Alexander,

Six million….

Each number represents a life—a person who might not otherwise be here today—if not for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. This is just an estimate of the number of lives the hard-working men and women of this 24-hour helpline believe they have aided since the program’s inception. Similarly, we have no clear means of counting the number of lives that might have been saved through the educational prevention programs made possible by the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act or by the mandatory suicide prevention training for educators enforced through Tennessee’s Jason Flatt Act and similar measures adopted by other states.

Both of the aforementioned acts are the tragic legacy of two young men who, in the prime of their lives, believed they had no better option than to take their lives. For too many children and too many people of all ages and backgrounds beset by depression, despair, and hopelessness, these programs are truly a lifeline in every sense of the word.

Your colleague Senator Chuck Schumer has proposed increasing funding for these and other vital mental health programs. Suicide and mental illness know no partisan lines. As an advocate for health and education, join with your colleagues in taking a stand for an issue that unites us all.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Andrew Mason

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2 Comments

  1. I know, I’m one of them, even though I feel better today.

  2. gen agustsson says:

    raise suicide awareness right now!

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