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.

I myself have lost a loved one to suicide, and I know how prevalent it is to our community, and also how little it is addressed at times, especially among adolescents.

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,

Taylor Hawthorne

Herndon

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