On September 18, Melissa traveled to Washington, D.C. where The Congressional Spouses for Suicide Prevention and Education held a congressional briefing on “Mental Health First Aid for your Family and Community.” Melissa spoke on a panel at the briefing – alongside Dr. Christine Moutier, Chief Medical Officer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and Betsy Schwartz, Vice President of Public Education for the National Council for Behavioral Health.Melissa shared her personal story as a survivor of suicide loss while Dr. Moutier and Betsy Schwartz spoke about the risk factors and warning signs of suicide in addition to the relationship between depression and patients diagnosed with a chronic disease, and Mental Health First Aid, respectively. Click here to see a video overview of the briefing.
Melissa then met one-on-one with members of U.S. Congress including Senator Mark Begich (Alaska), Representative Paul Tonko (New York), Representative Ron Barber (Arizona), and Representative Grace Napolitano (California). Watch this video to see Melissa talk with Senator Begich about suicide prevention.
Melissa lost her mother to suicide in April 1989, when she was 20 years old and an undergraduate at The University of Vermont. She spent a decade trying to reconcile her mother’s death and experienced what she calls “a true crisis in faith.” Now, Melissa lives her life with purpose, value and strength. She honors her mother in many ways: raising four young women of her own, following her personal life mission, and creating something new each year on the anniversary of her mother’s death. She also honors her mom by being a voice that says with conviction and certainty, “Suicide is preventable.” This passion fuels her dedication to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and advocating for suicide prevention.
What a day…full of congressional meetings speaking about suicide prevention. Wow. pic.twitter.com/r8ELvogtPY
— Melissa d’Arabian (@MelissadArabian) September 18, 2014
— RepRonBarber (@RepRonBarber) September 18, 2014
— Suicide Prevention (@afspnational) September 18, 2014