February 16th, 2019

Precious Lives

Apparently there are those who appear to believe that it is perfectly alright to jest about taking one’s own life or otherwise suicide in general.

Sadly, up until only recently, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin had been among those repeatedly doing so.

By joking about it in the manner he has on several different occasions, the message the Governor has basically sent to people is that if you are having a real hard time of it and are feeling really frustrated, whether by life in general or some difficult situation or circumstance, it is perfectly fine to kill yourself or, short of actually doing that, to otherwise joke about doing such.

For those of us who have lost either loved ones, friends, or school or work colleagues when they have taken their own lives, suicide is never found to be a laughing matter, nor should it ever be.
There is also something else of equal critical importance to be meaningfully addressed by both Governor Shumlin and the state legislature, however, and that is to make it a high priority to find and allocate state funding with which to continue ongoing suicide prevention efforts within Vermont.

This demands proper leadership in the form of stepping up to ensure state funding is in place, once federal monies run out on July 31st, in order to fully fund what the Vermont Suicide Prevention Center and its dedicated partners have been doing in these regards up to now. It is my understanding that the dollar amount being requested is $750,000.

Beyond the shattering impact experienced by loved ones, friends, or school or work colleagues when someone takes their own life, it needs to be kept in mind about how there are many others who are impacted as well, including emergency first responders, medical personnel and the like.

In addition, whether it be an attempted or completed act of suicide that takes place, there are also numerous financial impacts and costs that occur at individual, family and societal levels to be considered, as well.

The fact is that suicide prevention works. The precious lives saved by suicide prevention efforts are certainly worth this type of financial investment and commitment by the state.

Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier, VT

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