Lawmakers must do more for mental health and make suicide prevention resources more accessible – Chicago Tribune

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. As a volunteer and advocate for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, this month I ask everyone to join us and demand #MoreForMentalHealth.

I do more by calling on my legislators at the federal and state levels to support legislation that will fund the implementation of 988 and the suicide and mental health crisis system across our country, especially for those in underserved communities.

Currently, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available at 1-800-273-8255 and defuses seizures for tens of thousands of callers each day. On July 16, people in distress and those who support them will be able to reach Lifeline via a simple 3-digit number: 988. By making Lifeline more accessible via this shorter number, calls, texts and chats to the the lifeline of crisis call centers should increase. It is essential that the federal government work with the states to ensure that callers in distress will have: 1) someone to call, 2) someone to come and help them, and 3) a safe place to go. We must act NOW to secure funding to equip call centers and community crisis response services across the country with the staff and resources to respond to everyone in crisis.

Join me this month in urging our federal and state officials to #MoreForMentalHealth.

—Whitney Surane, Chesterton, Indiana

April 26 was the 200th anniversary of the birth of Frederick Law Olmsted, recognized worldwide as America’s first landscape architect. His work has defined parks as essential elements of modern urban life – open spaces necessary for individual and public health and the promotion of inclusive democracy. In homage to Olmsted’s pioneering designs, The New York Times included in today’s edition a 32-page color supplement on “Olmsted’s Enduring Gift”. The lush text and photographs showcased Olmsted’s ever-vibrant creations, both in New York (Central Park) and in cities across the continent, from Boston to Washington to Detroit, Louisville and Oakland.

Chicago, the location of Olmsted’s largest urban park and one of his most notable designs – South Park, comprising what is today known separately as Jackson Park, Washington Park, and connecting them, Midway Pleasure. Such a significant omission surely reflects the reality that in Chicago today, Olmsted’s designs are destroyed rather than cherished. By giving the Obama Foundation carte blanche to occupy the space of the Obama Presidential Library (now Center) in Jackson Park and expand its redesign to the entire park and Midway Plaisance, the City effectively abdicated its responsibility to preserve and protect an irreplaceable public good. Instead of a win-win that locates the Obama Center on unparked land and allows residents to join in celebrating Olmsted’s legacy in Chicago on his bicentennial, we must mourn his loss.

— Brenda Nelms and Jack Spicer, Jackson Park Watch, Chicago

Putin follows Lenin’s saying: “Lying is justified by our goals. Every criminal in America knows this, and many politicians too. When Putin lined up tanks and troops on the Ukrainian border, he said they would not invade. When Putin said he would de-escalate operations around certain Ukrainian cities, the following days he bombarded those areas with daylight. When Putin said he was allowing humanitarian corridors for fleeing refugees, he was only putting targets on their backs if he needed to. Putin first tried all of this when Russia invaded Crimea in 2014. When the world was outraged, Putin simply said Russian troops and tanks weren’t there!

For Putin, the end justifies the means. For the Communist Party of his upbringing, the end was the workers’ paradise.

Today, the end of the Russian head of state is Putin’s personal power paradise.

— Kimball Shinkoskey, Wood Cross, Utah

How ironic that the symbol of the Republican Party is an elephant given so many of its members’ favorite expression these days, “I don’t remember.”

—Bob Ory, Elgin

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