Help us fight sui­cide

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

Sui­cide is one of the 10 lead­ing causes of death in the United States, and it’s pre­ventable. Nine out of 10 peo­ple who die by sui­cide have a di­ag­nos­able men­tal health con­di­tion, like de­pres­sion, at the time of their death. To­gether, we can help peo­ple who strug­gle to seek help, im­prove the qual­ity of their lives, and stop this tragic loss of life.

It is im­por­tant to me be­cause it af­fected me di­rectly — I lost my own fa­ther to sui­cide when I was 14 years old. I volunteer with the Amer­i­can Foun­da­tion for Sui­cide Preven­tion (AFSP) as a mem­ber of the board of the Mary­land chap­ter and as the chair of the chap­ter’s Ad­vo­cacy and Public Pol­icy Com­mit­tee.

AFSP’s mission is to raise aware­ness and teach our com­mu­ni­ties ways all of us can help to pre­vent sui­cide. From learn­ing the risks and warn­ing signs of sui­cide, to hav­ing an hon­est con­ver­sa­tion with a loved one about seek­ing men­tal health help, we are dedicated to bring­ing peo­ple to­gether to save lives and bring hope to those af­fected by sui­cide.

The week of June 12, I and three oth­ers rep­re­sent­ing Mary­land will be trav­el­ing to Wash­ing­ton, D.C., to at­tend AFSP’s an­nual Ad­vo­cacy Fo­rum and to tell our mem­bers of Congress how im­por­tant this is­sue is to us. I will be joined in my ef­forts by vol­un­teers from all 50 states. On Tues­day, June 14, we will visit all 535 Con­gres­sional and Se­nate offices to let them know how im­por­tant this is­sue is to us and how they can help to re­duce the rate of sui­cide in the US.

Please take five min­utes right now to call your U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive and Sen­a­tors at 202-224-3121, and tell them to make men­tal health a national pri­or­ity and to fund sui­cide preven­tion re­search to­day. You can be­come an ad­vo­cate or write to your Rep­re­sen­ta­tive or Senator on this is­sue by go­ing to our ac­tion cen­ter at afsp.org/our-work/ ad­vo­cacy/ac­tion-cen­ter/

Join me in this fight to #stop­sui­cide. To­gether we can make a dif­fer­ence.

Sue Maska­leris, Wal­dorf The writer is the volunteer field am­bas­sador and ad­vo­cacy/ public pol­icy com­mit­tee chair with the Amer­i­can Foun­da­tion for Sui­cide Preven­tion Mary­land Chap­ter.

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