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LETTERS: Preventing suicides is high priority; God is with us all

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Zero suicides

September is National Suicide Awareness Month, and your local mental health authority wants the people of McLennan, Bosque, Falls, Freestone, Hill and Limestone counties to know it is taking the lead in not only reducing people dying by suicide but getting to zero suicides.

This is why the Heart of Texas Behavioral Health Network, formerly Heart of Texas Region MHMR Center, has made its Zero Suicide Initiative a high priority — in the short and long term.

The agency’s executive director, Daniel Thompson, says the deaths of well-known celebrities such as Naomi Judd and former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst, who both died by suicide recently, only stress the need for the Zero Suicide Initiative locally.

The statistics from the Texas Suicide Prevention Collaborative’s “AS+K Training” (Ask the question, Seek support, Know when and how to refer for additional help) also point to a great need. Data compiled in 2019 says that in 2018 Texas experienced almost 3,900 suicide deaths, and close to 2.5 times more Texans died by suicide than by homicide. Plus, nearly one in five high school students in Texas had serious thoughts about suicide in that calendar year.

The data, and there are more than what is detailed above, all points to the need for suicide prevention strategies. The Heart of Texas Behavioral Health Network’s Zero Suicide Initiative helps fill that need.

While the Zero Suicide Initiative continues to be crafted and implemented by the work group, the Heart of Texas Behavioral Health Network has current resources available for anybody in our six-county region who may be having suicide ideation — or any mental health crisis situation that needs immediate help. The agency’s Crisis Services Hotline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with a toll-free call at 866-752-3451. Nationally, the Suicide Lifeline is available by dialing 988.

Vince Erickson, Waco

As summer ends, you may find yourself feeling a mixture of unpleasant emotions. Sadness that summer is coming to an end, but also fear of your busy fall schedule.

God still hears

I would like to express my sympathies to Jan Gentry. In her July 22 letter, she appeared to express dismay regarding God. She claimed that God has left us with no one to bestow blessings upon us, keep us safe or hear our prayers.

I don’t know what God she is referencing, but God has not left me or my family. We are blessed to be a family who deeply cares for one another. I am blessed each day that I get to wake up. I am blessed by his forgiveness for my many transgressions, which are too innumerable to count.

I feel as though the Lord is keeping me as safe as is his will. If I find myself in danger, I rest easy knowing that should anything happen, my soul is safe, for I was promised reward in his kingdom, so long as I believe in his son. This earth is not his reward; it is a reward of man, not God.

He hears my prayers. Whether or not I like the answer, I know he hears me, as my prayers are by his command: in private, not seeking notice of man. I know he hears my prayers, because Jesus told us that he hears our prayers.

I will pray for the souls of the lost, and those whose faith is shaken. May you find the bliss in your personal relationship with God, for it is yours and yours alone.

Terry Commander,


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