Suicides outnumber homicides in the U.S

Charles Curie, head of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said suicides in the United States run at about 80 a day or more than 29,000 a year, three for each two homicides.

Almost all of the people who kill themselves suffer from depression. At a suicide prevention conference for mental health and social workers from eight Western States,federal funding for suicide prevention programs, including a national suicide prevention hot line (1-800-273-TALK) was praised; but many workers in that field are unaware of the available resources.Patients and consumers should be central to physical and mental health programs and be able to access such provision,without fear or confusion. This approach is vital if the stigma attached to mental health and its treatment is to be removed.

Oregon's Republican Sen. Gordon Smith, who lost a son to suicide in 2003, welcomed the Bush administration for leaving the $11.5 million for the Garrett Lee Smith Act, a suicide prevention package named after his son, intact, but said the fund needs $27.5 million to be effective in dealing with youth suicide. He had contemplated giving up public office to return to Oregon and focus more on the rest of his family but chose instead to make suicide prevention his cause.

Many of our greatest leaders have been afflicted with various types of mental illnesses, Thomas Jefferson, Meriwether Lewis, Abraham Lincoln and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill; support from family and friends helped them make an enormous contribution to the world.

Depression and mental illnesses affect all of us, regardless of politics, race, religion, or sexual orientation.

Sen.Smith called on all conference participants to give their support towards gaining full funding for the the Garrett Lee Smith Act. In Oregon in 2002 there were 518 suicide deaths, 71 more than from traffic accidents.

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