LETTER TO THE EDITOR: September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Published 2:49 pm Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Dear Editor:

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. As a volunteer advocate with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, I am calling on my members of Congress to pass legislation to prevent suicides and support crisis care.
The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline must be sustainably funded so that confidential, voluntary services by trained counselors are accessible. H.R.7116, the 988 Implementation Act, would provide federal funding and guidance to states for 988 crisis services across the nation.
An alternative to 911 for mental health crises, 988 connects callers to Lifeline centers. These centers de-escalate 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 centers), someone to respond (mobile crisis teams), and somewhere 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, go to afsp.org/988.
Join me in urging Congress to take action to #StopSuicide!

Sincerely,

Kelsey Smith

Metairie