Change the culture around mental health

May was Mental Health Awareness Month. By urging my public officials to prioritize suicide prevention, mental health and crisis care, I am hoping to influence collective change to support #MentalHealth4All.

Right now, individuals in crisis are able to call (800) 273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress and those who care for them. Soon, it will be much easier to remember how to reach the Lifeline as the number will be changing to 988 nationwide by July 2022.

Knowing this, it is critically important that states pass legislation now to reliably fund 988 and their state’s crisis response system, just as we fund 911 and emergency services – through small fees on our phone bills. Reliable funding will help to ensure all 988 callers can reach a counselor in their own state who is familiar with and can connect them with local resources. Culturally competent support and local connections can better help all callers through their crisis and in their recovery.

My daughter passed away to suicide in January. She suffered from depression, which was only supported outside of the school. School did not offer mental health support when she was a middle school student and is not offering any support to her sister, the suicide survivor, other than referring her to support organizations.

It is very important to increase budgets for school wellness centers that will provide mental assistance for all students, and to bring mental illness awareness to all. This is not something people should feel ashamed of. They should be able to discuss it openly and get the support they need!

Join me this month in urging your public officials to fund 988. We all play a role in changing the culture around mental health. Together, we can ensure #MentalHealth4All.

Michelle Reuven

Sunnyvale

With trash overflowing,
buy a bigger bin

Now that I have a dog, we walk. This morning we passed three 32-gallon trash cans that had been filled over the top so that the lids were open and the crows had gotten into them, leaving trash on the pavement around them. Pretty disgusting, especially the dog waste that had gotten smeared into the pavement, and the incidental litter it creates with the wind picking up lighter pieces.

A 32-gallon can costs $166 every three months; a 64-gallon bin is double at $233 every three months. Please do yourselves and your neighbors a favor and call Mission Trail Waste Systems at 473-1400.

Betty Byrne

Los Altos