Letter: Keep 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the newspaper by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press. To submit a letter, send it to or Echo Press, P.O. Box 549, Alexandria, MN 56308.

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To the editor:

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. As a volunteer advocate with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, I am calling on my members of Congress to pass legislation to prevent suicides and support crisis care.

I'm a survivor of suicide. In 2007, I tried to save a friend by doing CPR and rescue breathing on him after he took his own life. I wouldn't wish this path on anyone, but I can share my story. There are resources available to help prevent the pain he felt from ending in his death. There are resources for his family and friends and people just like them and it's up to us to provide them. These stories are too common, and we have the ability to stop them.

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline must be sustainably funded so that confidential, voluntary services by trained counselors are accessible. H.R.7116, the 988 Implementation Act, would provide federal funding and guidance to states for 988 crisis services across the nation.

An alternative to 911 for mental health crises, 988 connects callers to Lifeline centers. These centers de-escalate 98% of crisis calls without dispatching emergency services. Well-resourced crisis support systems can connect callers with local resources, including someone to talk to (call centers), someone to respond (mobile crisis teams), and somewhere to go (crisis stabilization centers). We must ensure that every state has the capacity to provide comprehensive crisis response services to help save lives.


For more information, go to

Join me in urging Congress to take action to #StopSuicide!

Stephanie Jensen
Belgrade, MN

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