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People’s column

Mental health needs more help

Editor, OBSERVER:

September is Suicide Prevention Month and it’s important that we are there for each other and take steps to prevent suicide.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s theme for the month is to #KeepGoing, by taking simple actions to safeguard our mental health and save lives. From learning the warning signs for suicide and what to do if you are worried someone is struggling, to bringing education programs to your community, we can all learn new ways to help each other save lives.

One action I’m taking is to urge my public officials to prioritize suicide prevention and mental health. When someone is in acute crisis, it’s hard for them to think clearly, and even reaching out for help can be a struggle. For this reason, it is vital that Congress pass the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act (H.R.4194/S.2661) to make a three-digit number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline a reality. This legislation will provide the funding and resources needed by crisis centers across the country that support those struggling with their mental health and thoughts of suicide.

In this time of uncertainty, we all need to find new ways to connect and support each other. Together, we #KeepGoing.

SHONDRA RISCILLI,

Westfield

An education found in ‘Hamilton’

Editor, OBSERVER:

Have you seen the musical “Hamilton”? It’s playing on the Disney channel right now. It’s guaranteed to tickle your interest in history, the founding fathers, and the Constitution of the United States of America.

The federalist papers, for example, were written anonymously (by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay under the pen name “Publius”) to persuade Americans that the Constitution was the way the country should go. The federalist papers were submitted as a series of opinions, or editorials (the 18th century version of social media).

The papers reflect not only their writers’ brilliance and intellect, but also their understanding of human nature and history. They reflect an abiding faith that three branches of government, with separation of powers, and checks and balances, would prevent abuse by any one branch.

In Federalist 37, Madison explained why a faultless plan was not to be expected since, with men, fallibility is inevitable. The real world requires the appropriate open-minded spirit. The papers were intended for moderates interested in serious inquiry, while grasping the difficulty of drawing precise dividing lines in anything. The founders understood compromise to be key.

On Sept. 17, the United States will celebrate Constitution Day. What better time than now to study the Constitution again (or for the first time, as the case may be) and – in a spirit of open-mindedness — decide for ourselves how we’re doing.

As we careen, inexorably, toward the general election on Nov. 3, it’s the perfect time to think about Hamilton, the Constitution, and what democracy entails.

GAIL A. CROWE,

Fredonia

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