By Nancy Gau

Please reach out to family, friends, co-workers, (or even a stranger) and remind them that September is National Suicide Prevention month, and encourage them to please pass the word on. On average, there are @ 120 suicides every day in the United States. It is the tenth leading cause of death in America and the second leading cause for age group 25-34! The suicide rate among young adults (ages 15-24) has tripled since 1950. We can help reduce these numbers by spreading awareness, advocating, educating, and by just being kind. Also, three LWVPBC Issue Groups (Healthcare, Gun Safety, and Education) have plans to work together on this issue. These plans had to be placed on hold due to the pandemic, but we still communicate, e.g., Becky Pickup and Kristin Murtaugh presented a piece about the “lock it up” program, during one of our weekly COVID Zooms in March. And we have partnered with 211 in WPB to place this on their website. In 2017 there were @40,000 gun deaths in the U.S. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, the majority of these deaths were due to suicide. A recent study completed at Ohio State University revealed that lacking health insurance appeared to increase suicide rates. Due to the fact that Florida is one of only 12 states yet to expand Medicaid, and exacerbated now by the increase in unemployment due to COVID, there are now @900,000 uninsured in the state of Florida.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (or Text GO to 741741). (Free and confidential.)

Or dial 211 locally.

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”

-Dalai Lama