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To bring down the rising suicide rate in the U.S., Cory Booker wants to appoint a federal coordinator tasked solely with suicide prevention. Amy Klobuchar wants to fund more local programs designed to prevent suicides among farmers and in tribal communities. Pete Buttigieg wants to add more mental health providers to the Department of Veterans Affairs and limit access to guns and other lethal means for people at high risk of suicide.

The ideas came in response to a survey sent to 2020 presidential candidates by a new nonpartisan group called Mental Health For US. The group — which includes the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the Kennedy Forum — launched in June with a goal of getting 2020 presidential and congressional candidates to go on the record about their mental health policy ideas. Mental Health for US sent its survey to President Trump and every presidential candidate polling at or above an average of 1% in mid-July. The survey asked about a slew of topics related to mental health, from the shortage of providers to suicide prevention.

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  • “Mental health” is not a disease, it is a very complex range of very different kinds of difficulties in life. It covers physical problems, emotional upset, reasoning difficulties, and interpersonal tensions, including losses.

    “Mental health” problems range from the mostly biological, such as brain injuries and schizophrenia, to the normal sadness and depression that often comes with a broken heart. It is the result of a complex interaction of a person’s unique genetic make-up, with their family interactions, their community, and many aspects of their biological health, as well as some sociological factors such as poverty and racism.

    We all have times in our lives when we get emotionally upset. The best treatment is a good supportive relationship. If a person doesn’t have that in their lives then a good therapist can help.

    Any program has to be comprehensive and extensive. It has to be designed to deal with many factors and be around for a long time. It’s much more complicated than a trip to the moon.

  • Why no mention of the astonishing number and rate increase of specifically, white men in our country. Is this a gun problem or a desire to die problem. Why are special programs on the high rate, but low-incidence of suicide among Native Americans and LGBTQ. Why hide the truth that White middle aged men are killing themselves at rates and incidence higher than anytime in our history behind ambiguous categories of “farmer” and “veterans.” There is clearly a massive race and gender divide here. White men are suffering at alarming rates. Talk about it.
    Sincerely, disenfranchised white middle aged man

  • Most notable experts on biochemistry and depression have reported that oftentimes individuals who commit suicide or a crime involve shooting have been on an antidepressant or anti-psychotic medication. William J. Walsh, PhD, FACN, of the non-profit Walsh Research Institute (near Chicago) has spoken publicly about this many times. His organization educates doctors on how to identify the different types of depression (it is not just low serotonin) and which medications are beneficial (or not) based on their biotype (specific lab tests).

  • I’m sorry, how exactly will reducing guns prevent suicide?? I’m pretty sure most people have access to belts, ropes, sheets, knives, blades, scissors and more! Don’t speak on this subject unless u have been affected by suicide or have done your research!!!

    • The research clearly shows that a suicide attempts by firearm is the most successful. People who try other methods: pills, ropes, even razor blades, have the option to panic and opt out of dying. They very often use that option. There are no second thoughts with bullets.

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