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.
I currently work as a Colorado Certified Peer and Family Specialist at Colorado Crisis Services/Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners. We are going to be answering calls from 988 on top of our regular calls. It is important to me to have higher funding for Mental Health services to keep psychiatric hospitals, treatment centers, and hot lines/warm lines as available and very important options for those struggling with mental health. As a Peer Specialist, I have my own lived experiences in mental health including hospitalizations, suicide attempts, therapy, IOP/PHP programs, and psychiatric medication needs. I truly believe there is not enough funding for these needs leading to more people struggling with mental health to complete suicide.
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 that support them will be able to reach the Lifeline through a simple 3-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.
Ann Marie Ward
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