DEAR EDITOR:

Thanks so much for your article, “A Call To Action,” to raise awareness about the increasing suicide rates and the need for action for suicide prevention. Over 1.5 million people attempted suicide in 2018 and we can all work together to remove the stigma of mental illness and make a difference. In addition to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255), a person in any type of crisis can text “Hello” to 741741 to reach a crisis counselor at Crisis Text Line. If you are a survivor of suicide loss, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP.org) Healing Loss Program gives those who have lost someone to suicide the opportunity to talk with experienced volunteers who are themselves survivors of suicide loss. They offer understanding and guidance in the weeks and months following a suicide death.

Also, a short note, text, or call of encouragement can make a tremendous difference to those who may be depressed or contemplating suicide. If you are concerned about someone — ASK. Let them know that you care and that you are worried about them and want to be sure that they are safe. You will never instill the thought of suicide by asking someone if they are considering ending their life. However, ask in a loving and caring way.

Seventy-five percent of the texters who text to Crisis Text Line are below the age of 25 and 17% are below the age of 13. About 20% of those texters below the age of 13 are struggling with self-harm.

It’s OK not to be OK, but help is available 24/7. You matter and we want you all to be here tomorrow.

Volunteer opportunities at AFSP (afsp.org/take-action/) and Crisis Text Line (www.crisistextline.org/volunteer) are available if you’d like to help. You don’t need a cape to save a life!

Jim Ford

Marietta

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