Letter: Help make suicide prevention a national priority

By on July 23, 2009

Approximately every 16 minutes, a suicide occurs in the United States.

This number has increased since 2003, when it was every 18 minutes. One in two teens will attempt suicide. An attempt of suicide is made every minute of every day.

Those statistics are terrifying to me as a teen, and my mom as a parent.

That is why I prepared to participate in the “Out of the Darkness” walk. This walk is to make suicide prevention a national priority.

Along the 20-mile walk that started at dusk and ended at dawn, I raised money. The funds I raise will further the mission of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).

AFSP is the leading nonprofit organization essentially dedicated to understanding and restraining suicide through research and education. It also reached out to people with mood disorder and those strongly impacted by suicide.

Although I hardly knew him, Andie Christoffel’s suicide really upsets me. It pains me to know that he could still be with us now. This might not be the last suicide I have to deal with in my life, but I am praying it is. I wanted to do this walk to show people with thoughts of suicide that it is not the only way out.

My mom did the walk with me. Please consider helping us raise awareness of this tragedy so others can be spared the pain of suicide. Please visit www.TheOvernight.org and type in Riley or Michelle Phillips as participant name, and any donation you can make can help prevent another’s family or friends from experiencing this sort of loss.

We thank you for your time in reading this and your support in our efforts.

Riley Phillips