Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, but it can be prevented! September is National Suicide Prevention Month, with National Suicide Prevention week occurring Sept. 8-14.

I lost my younger brother, Junior, to suicide in 1997 at age 22. Bipolar disorder runs in my family, and I've been labeled with Bipolar II disorder.

Throughout Suicide Prevention Month, I'll be urging my public officials to prioritize suicide prevention and mental health and to "Be the Voice" for the millions of Americans affected by suicide each year.

To prevent suicide, we need to:

1. Invest in suicide prevention research within the National Institute of Mental Health at a level equal to the suicide problem in our country

2. Strengthen oversight for mental health parity at the state and federal levels

3. Fully fund the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255 [TALK]) and local crisis call centers

4. Make Service member and veteran suicide prevention a national priority

Please join me by calling your members of Congress and your state and local officials to ask them to make suicide prevention the priority it deserves to be. Together, we can save lives.

Raela Marie Villanueva, Pensacola