September 18, 2018
It was an honor to attend and speak at the Roaming Hearts Foundation’s inaugural “March for Miles” event on Saturday, September 15th at Heckscher Park. The foundation was formed to promote mental health and prevent suicide. A sincere thanks to Danielle Peltz for her dedication and leadership in organizing the event, and to all those who participated in making it a remarkable day in memory and honor of the beloved Huntington resident, Miles Kelly, who tragically passed last year due to suicide.
As September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, I encourage residents to learn more about this stigmatized issue. Taking the lives of over 40,000 people each year in the United States, ranking as the 10th leading cause of death in the country with rates that have increased by 30% in half of all US states since 2000; suicide has become a public health crisis. Often misinterpreted as a moral issue, suicide and suicide attempts should be understood as a medical condition, much like that of diabetes or heart disease, deserving of a comprehensive treatment approach.
Roaming Hearts Foundation is working to safeguard against this crisis by lifting the stigma associated with mental health conditions that often lead to suicide attempts and suicide and by raising awareness of existing resources. Creating non-judgmental environments that foster supportive connections within our homes, schools, workplaces and neighborhoods will empower those silently suffering to reach out for help. By reducing the stigma and offering services, we increase the hope for healing. That is a goal worth fighting for.
For more information about their inspiring mission, please check out https://marchformiles.org/.
Dr. William R. Spencer
Suffolk County Legislator
William R. Spencer