News

News

Guest column: Legislators must fund efforts to stem suicide crisis 

aa988 horizontal blue

On July 16, those in distress and those who support them will be able to reach the Lifeline through a simple three-digit number: 988.

 

By Misty Perez

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. As a volunteer and advocate with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, this month I am asking everyone to join us and demand #MoreForMentalHealth.

As a local community leader and a suicide loss survivor, this is personal for me. I lost my son to suicide in 2019 and I hear the stories from community members about the lack in services. Law enforcement is overwhelmed by calls related to mental health issues and there isn't enough funding for our behavioral health agencies to meet the need. Change is necessary and we need it now.

I am doing more by calling on my legislators at the federal and state levels to support legislation that will fund the implementation of 988 and the suicide and mental health crisis system across our nation,particularly for those in underserved communities.

Currently, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available at 1-800-273-8255 and de-escalates the crises of tens of thousands of callers each day. On July 16, those in distress and those who support them will be able to reach the Lifeline through a simple three-digit number: 988. By making the Lifeline more accessible through this shorter number, calls, texts, and chats to the Lifeline's network of crisis call centers are expected to increase. 

It is vital that the federal government work with states to ensure callers in distress will have: 

1) someone to call

2) someone to come help and

3) somewhere safe to go.

We must act NOW to

secure funding to equip call centers and community crisis response services throughout the country with the staff and resources to respond to everyone in crisis.

Join me this month in urging our federal and state public officials to do #MoreForMentalHealth. You can start by visiting moreformentalhealth.org.

Together, we can help #StopSuicide.

— Misty Perez is a Port Hueneme councilmember.

 

 

 

Not a subscriber?  choose your subscription plan.