September is Suicide Prevention Month and was created so we can be there for each other and take steps to prevent suicide. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s theme for the month is to #KeepGoing, by taking simple actions to safeguard our mental health and save lives. From learning the warning signs for suicide and what to do if you are worried someone is struggling, to bringing education programs to your community, we can all learn new ways to help each other save lives.

One action I’m taking is to urge my public officials to prioritize suicide prevention and mental health. When someone is in acute crisis, it’s hard for them to think clearly, and even reaching out for help can be a struggle. For this reason, it is vital that Congress pass the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act (H.R.4194/S.2661) to make a three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline a reality. This legislation will provide the funding and resources needed by crisis centers across the country that support those struggling with their mental health and thoughts of suicide.

I lost my mom to suicide nearly four years ago. She was one of the smartest people I’ve ever known. She taught high school math for thirty-two years in Alabama and in Georgia. I believe we can prevent suicide if we have the right helpful tools.

In this time of uncertainty, we all need to find new ways to connect and support each other

Together, we #KeepGoing.

Sincerely, Becky Bootz Opelika