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Crystal Graham: Together, we can help prevent suicide

american foundation for suicide preventionEach year, we lose 42,773 Americans by suicide, and it costs the U.S. $44 billion annually. Yet suicide is preventable. It is not a choice people make, but rather, in nine out of 10 people, the result of an undiagnosed or untreated mental health condition, like depression. Research shows us that the suicidal urge is intense but short, and if people can make it through those brief moments, and get help, they can survive.

Together, we can help prevent suicide, and save lives.

I recently traveled to Washington, D.C., as part of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s annual Advocacy Forum, and joined hundreds of AFSP volunteers in asking Congress for their support of mental health reform, suicide prevention training, research funding, and support for our veterans who struggle with mental health conditions.

This issue is important to me because it affected me directly – my identical twin sister died by suicide when we were 15 years old after suffering from depression.

From learning the risks and warning signs of suicide, to having an honest conversation with a loved one about seeking mental health help, AFSP is dedicated to creating a culture that’s smart about mental health, and teaching our communities ways we can work together to prevent suicide.

Take five minutes right now, and please call your U.S. Representative and Senators at 202-224-3121, and tell them to make mental health a national priority.

Join me in this fight to #stopsuicide. Together we can make a difference.

Crystal Graham is a member of the board of directors of the Virginia chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. She is the vice president of Augusta Free Press LLC.