Advocates call for more mental health resources

LANSING, Michigan (WLNS) – More than 40% of people in the United States in 2020 who had mental health issues did not receive the help they needed due to lack of resources. Advocates gathered at the State Capitol to meet lawmakers in hopes of securing more funding and making mental health a priority.

Vicky Mennare is Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in Michigan. She says the foundation “wants to do everything we can to reduce this suicide rate. And being here today is one of those things that we can do.

Advocates from their own personal experiences shared their stories with lawmakers, aiming to get them to pay for programs to help people like Jane Trestain’s son, Jake.

Trestain says, “For me personally, my son Jake died by suicide in November 2018, and after he passed I knew from the circumstances in which he died that something had to be done with public policy and that there had to be some changes made.

One thing Jane and others plan to introduce to lawmakers is transitioning The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to a three-digit number, much like dialing 911, it would be 988.

Mennare mentions that while the 10-digit number is great, “the 3-digit number 988 will be easier to remember and quicker for people who might be going through a mental health crisis.”

Statistics show that suicide is the 10and leading cause of death in Michigan. It hits close to home for many parents who have lost their children, like Tom and Holly Ram, who lost their son to suicide.

He says “my wife Holly talks to people all the time on the phone trying to get them to understand the difficulties with a child who has a mind and how to deal with it. Because it is also a parental problem. That’s how you raise a child with depression.

Defenders like the Rams and others want everyone to know that if you need help, you can always reach out. Holly Ram goes on to say, “It’s normal not to be well. and I think most people face it. and hiding only adds to the anxiety.

If you or someone you know needs help, the suicide prevention lifeline is always open.

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