Written by Scott Niles in the Watertown Daily Times

U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik is advocating for something that has received nearly no attention throughout the novel coronavirus pandemic, and I would like to address it: mental health.

While our health care workers and medical professionals fight this battle on the frontlines, it will be our job as a community to care for the families who have suffered loss and hardship as a result of COVID-19. It also will be our job to call on our state and public officials to support measures that deal directly with the fallout of mental health cases. Funding for such things like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline as well as the needs of our health care workers who care for patients are of the utmost importance, and failure to focus on these topics will result in serious consequences.

Earlier this month, Rep. Stefanik asked House leadership for an increase of support for mental health resources and suicide prevention. Elise included a request for the prioritization of health care workers’ mental health needs.

Our health care workers are our heroes, and they are the ones we turn to in times of crisis. It is our job, as Rep. Stefanik pointed out, to ensure their health and safety.

In addition to supporting the needs of our frontline fighters, Rep. Stefanik requested $61 million in funding for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The NSPL is a powerful resource for so many and should be recognized daily for the significant role it plays.

The Lifeline receives numerous calls every day and has saved so many north country men, women and children. We need it now more than ever.

This request by Rep. Stefanik is yet again another effort from her office, which underlines her ability to understand the needs of our district and values of the north country. Stefanik’s effort is certainly fighting this virus on all fronts and will undoubtedly help all of those who are caring for our loved ones.

Thank you for a comprehensive and well thought-out response, Rep. Stefanik. We’re behind you!

Scott Niles


You can read the full letter to the editor at: www.nny360.com