988; mental health; Russia, Ukraine, Putin; Stone, Hollywood; DeSantis, Disney

Experts on other end of 988 phone call help folks in crisis

July 16 marked one year since our nation transitioned to 988, the nationwide mental health crisis helpline.

This number connects callers with the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. Congress designated 988 in 2020, and as a part of the federal government’s commitment to addressing the mental health crisis in America, federal resources have been invested to scale up crisis centers in support of 988.

988 is confidential, free and available 24/7/365, connecting those experiencing crises with trained crisis counselors. Access is available through every land line, cellphone and voice-over-internet device in the United States, and services are available in Spanish, along with interpretation services in more than 150 languages.

Spread the word.

Since the launch of 988 in 2022, data shows an increase in overall calls, texts and chats. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration:

• 98% of people who contact 988 are helped by a trained crisis counselor, resources are shared and community connections made during the calls/texts/chats.

• 9,360 is the average number of daily contacts to 988.

• About 1% of people who contact 988 agree to have their crisis counselors call 911 because of serious risk to life.

• In fewer than 1% of 988 calls, the crisis counselor must call 911 without consent because of serious risk to life.

We are listening.

If someone is experiencing an emotional crisis or thoughts of suicide, call 988 or seek help at a licensed behavioral health facility. 24/7 assessments are available by contacting us directly.

As a behavioral health care provider here in the Treasure Coast, our team at Coral Shores Behavioral Health is dedicated to support individuals in a manner that promotes hope, resiliency, connectedness and recovery. We are proud to partner with the 988 network and are a resource for individuals referred for help.

Stephen Quintyne, Stuart

988 Mental Health Lifeline workers are pictured Wednesday, July 27, 2022.

988 Mental Health Lifeline workers are pictured Wednesday, July 27, 2022.

Ukraine-Russia: Learn from history, not Hollywood

On July 29, Fox News published a story saying filmmaker Oliver Stone thinks Joe Biden will “stupidly” drag us into World War III.

Stone’s recent conspiracy film, “Ukraine On Fire,” claims the United States was behind Ukrainian democrats ousting pro-Putin leader Victor Yanukovych in February 2014, which led to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Crimea. Stone claimed Biden and Barack Obama provoked this whole conflict, helped by “neo-conservative” warmongers.

Finally, Stone claims in 2022 Biden rejected requests from Russia to give autonomy to Eastern Donbas “Russians,” leading to recent escalation toward a NATO conflict.

All this might sound reasonable to uninformed observers. But it is not.

I served in Kyiv at our U.S. embassy for two years, speak Russian and follow closely developments there. Putin in 2012 usurped power for a third term, repressing the free press and civic freedoms. He even assassinated his opponents.

Yanukovych was his hand-picked puppet in Ukraine, who rejected young Ukrainians’ desire to join the European Union and follow the successful path of Poland. Yanukovych’s rejection of an EU path led to street protests that overthrew him. He fled, of all places, to Moscow. His gold-plated palace and exotic private zoo were exposed for all to see.

President Obama supported Ukraine’s movement toward democracy and helped it fight corruption. Putin, in outrage, invaded Crimea in 2014 and built a $3 billion bridge to Russia.

I gave several speeches condemning his illegal acts, but overall Western reaction was muted. Perhaps people believed that was all he wanted? Like Adolf Hitler’s invading the Sudetenland, tyrant Putin was not satisfied and next invaded Donbas in 2022, after promising he wouldn’t. Like Hitler, he lied about his intentions.

Now Putin is threatening Poland, falsely claiming Poland plans to invade Ukraine and Belarus. We need to learn from history, not from Stone’s conspiracy films.

David W. Hunter is a retired U.S. diplomat from Vero Beach

GOP exhibits hypocrisy when it comes to free enterprise, freedom

Stephen Stills, who performed with Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills and Nash (and sometimes Neil Young), included these lines in his lyrics to “For What It’s Worth:”

“There’s battle lines being drawn. Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong. Young people speaking their minds. Getting so much resistance from behind.”

I was one of those young people speaking my mind during the 1960s in support of civil and women’s rights and against the Vietnam War, a post-colonial civil war the United States had no business prosecuting. My decision to oppose some tenets of conservative ideology created considerable friction among some members of my family, die-hard Republicans who held a deep-seated hatred for Democrats and their positions.

It was a difficult period for all of us, and I’m thankful my parents and grandparents don’t have to contend with today’s deeply insane political and cultural divisions exploited by immoral politicians for personal advantages.

There was a time in the not-too-distant past when traditional conservatives supported free enterprise. Republican politicians then wouldn’t dream of attempting to undermine a major American corporation out of pure spite, something they’d consider anti-capitalist behavior.

How the times have changed. Eighty-six percent of polled Republicans support Ron DeSantis’ personal dispute with Disney, while an equal percentage of Democrats oppose this nonsense waged by DeSantis as part of his so-called “anti-woke” campaign, underscoring how differently Americans see the world. And each side believes the other is unpatriotic.

Republicans continue to suggest they’re the Knights Templar of personal freedom; however, that’s always been qualified with a big “but,” as in “but with considerable exemptions” (racial minorities, women, homosexuals and atheists).

This behavior always has revealed Republican hypocrisy. Protecting freedoms for some, while denying it to others is as un-American as it gets.

Traditional conservatism has been superseded by petty cultural grievances.

Cray Little, Vero Beach

‘Vile, manipulative nonsense’? Here’s another writer’s definition

Cray Little recently wrote a letter again about hatred, but does he see it in himself?

We already know from past letters how he feels about Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, but now he’s making clear the contempt he feels for anyone who supports either candidate, as if that wasn’t a God-given American right ― to support the candidate of your choice.

Little claims that “DeSantis has picked up Trump’s torch, setting ablaze his supporters’ concealed hatred of homosexuals, people of color, immigrants … ” In one sentence, he has ascribed hateful attributes to anyone who doesn’t think the way he does. This is shameful and irresponsible.

This seems like a repeat of lies and innuendos the left and the mainstream media have launched against Donald Trump for more than six years and have now set their sights on Ron DeSantis. Have we learned nothing?

I taught in a Black school in North Philadelphia, but I guess I’m considered a racist by some people. I believe we should have immigration laws, so that makes me hate immigrants?

As a retired teacher, I believe there should be age-appropriate reading materials and content, so, to some, I also hate homosexuals?

You could say I’m outraged by these ill-conceived assumptions, but I’m more outraged that Little used the words of Martin Luther King Jr. to support his absurd theories. It’s sad divisive rhetoric is typical of how the left operates: Accuse your opponent of what you yourself feel; it’s called distraction.

Little states at the end of his letter that “thoughtful, loving individuals reject such vile, manipulative nonsense.” But what is more manipulative or more vile than demonizing a large group of people in a letter to the editor of your local newspaper?

Patricia Perrone, Stuart

OK to forgive atrocities, but never forget them

A recent letter to the editor regarding “spiritual attainment” addresses the concept of forgiveness. The writer pens “that to forgive, you must forget or there is no forgiveness.”

I believe one should forgive. However, not forget.

By forgetting you are setting yourself up for future harm. It may not be the one who initially hurt you, but someone else.

Some can forgive the Holocaust, slavery and more, but do not forget those evils.

Lastly, if Jesus asked God to forgive them, he did not say forget them. Christians may have forgiven Jesus’ persecutors, but Christians have not forgotten, as they celebrate Easter: the crucifixion and resurrection.

Ronald D. Roberts, Sebastian

This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast Newspapers: Mental health; Ukraine; Stone, Hollywood; DeSantis, Disney | Letters

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