Op-ed by U.S. Rep. Susan Wild: ‘I can only make sense of the loss of my partner in life if I can save someone else’s life’THE MORNING CALL
JUN 30, 2019
I didn’t run for Congress thinking that suicide prevention and awareness would be a cornerstone of my platform. Yes, I was aware of the pressing problem of veteran suicide, and that the number of suicides has increased dramatically. Never, however, did I think that this issue would become so very personal to me. Sadly, on May 25th, it did. On that day, the person who was my best friend, confidante, and partner in life, took his own life.
I cannot begin to describe the impact of receiving a phone call from an unknown police officer, telling me that my beloved had committed suicide. Disbelief was my first reaction, so much so that I thought it was a prank call. Fairly quickly, however, my mind gathered the warning signs that had existed, and which, sadly, I did not act upon with enough urgency.
For those who think I am assigning blame to myself for this act, and who have rushed to reassure me that there was nothing I could have done to stop this act of madness, you should know I have gotten to a place of peace in terms of my role. Because I now realize that without specific training in mental health, we cannot recognize and act on the warning signs, unless we learn more.
So it has become a new part of my mission to do as much good as I can in this public position I now occupy. Having only recently experienced this tragic loss, I am not yet an expert on the subject. However, I intend to become one. I can only make sense of the loss of my partner in life if I can save someone else’s life, and, just as importantly, can save another family from the devastation of losing their loved one to suicide.
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