Congress should do more to prevent suicides
The new 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline phone number must be sustainably funded so that confidential, voluntary services by trained counselors are accessible nationwide.
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.
As an individual who comes from a family of suicides and once had those thoughts myself, I want to make a difference. Because of these first-hand experiences, I feel it is my duty to educate, support and shine light on suicide prevention.
Coming together and not feeling alone has an immense impact. People who commit suicide come in all shapes, sizes and colors, and it is a matter of high importance to stop the epidemic.
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The new nationwide 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline phone number 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.
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. Join me in urging Congress to take action to #StopSuicide. For more information, go to afsp.org/988.
Kelly Evitt, Schaumburg
Too much media coverage of queen’s death
I was appalled by CNN’s coverage of the Queen of England’s health, which lasted for hours prior to her passing.
All other news was buried, including the enormous problems facing the United Kingdom. With so many people in the UK living in poverty and trying desperately to deal with rising costs, the media’s coverage of the pending death of the queen was unfitting and made no sense.
As someone who taught communication for more than 40 years, I was especially struck by the morbid, ghoulish and inappropriate discourse of reporters, eulogizing and memorializing her many hours in advance of her death.
Photos and videos of the arrival of the Queen’s family, accompanied with commentary about who was in which auto as well as the family members’ somber expressions, was unjustified; it violated the royal family’s desire for privacy and decorum.
Awaiting the queen’s death should not receive this much attention. I am not a Royalist but fully understand how important the queen is to so many people and countries. The coverage was excessive and provided the wrong tone.
Richard Cherwitz, professor emeritus, the University of Texas at Austin
Questions that must be asked of candidates
Now that we are within 60 days of the midterm elections, all reporters need to start every candidate interview and all moderators every candidate debate with the same two questions. And not continue until they have actually been answered:
1. Who won the 2020 presidential election?
2. What do you call the events that took place at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021?
The answer to these two questions will tell voters all they need to know about the candidates and where they stand as far as their dedication to democracy.
Walter R. Kowalczyk, Jefferson Park
Goldwater undeserving of praise
A recent letter portrayed Barry Goldwater as a reasonable political leader, despite the Arizona Republican’ s infamous declaration at the 1964 convention: “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.”
With all due respect to the nostalgia of the good old days, nothing could be farther from the truth. Consider the turbulence in the nation at the time of Goldwater’s remark.
Demagogic politicians and their rabid followers were wreaking havoc on the civil rights movement, then at its zenith. Murders, bombings, lynchings, arson, snarling police dogs, cattle prods, water hoses — everything in the violence playbook was unleashed on the fighters for human rights.
Did Goldwater think they should resort to extremism to redress their grievances? Of course not. He refused to support the historic 1964 Civil Rights Act. In a very real sense, he was the godfather of the rightwing radicalism that animates today’s malcontents.
Barry Goldwater a man for today’s political season? No, no, no. A thousand times no.
Samuel C. Small, Roseland
Bears should move but not at taxpayers’ expense
I was glad to see a column extolling the Bears possible move to Arlington Heights. I can answer every argument put forth for keeping the Bears where they are.
I’m sorry the taxpayers are on the hook for the redesign of Soldier Field. But it was a mistake from the beginning. The people who actually attend are mostly from the suburbs and will actually have places to park at a new stadium. I only hope the taxpayers in Arlington Heights don’t get stuck with the bill.
Laurence Siegel, Manteno