Ashley Virginia

Stopping Suicide by Eliminating Stigma

Dear President Donald Trump:

Congratulations on getting elected to office, I am aware that it was a long and difficult road to get here. There is an extremely important issue that I would like to discuss with you in detail in this letter. Suicide and mental health are extremely important issues in today’s society, but judging by your website, you don’t seem to have given much thought to them. Even when talking about veterans, you avoid using the word suicide like the black plague ("ICYMI - Trump's Ten Point Plan to Reform the VA.").

Your avoidance of the word suicide and your comments towards people suffering with mental illnesses only increase the severity of the mental health stigma in America. The concept of this term basically means that mental illnesses and problems are frowned upon by society and treated differently from physical health problems. The mental health stigma is a big reason why a large number of people don’t get help. They’re afraid of rejection and criticism from family, friends, and even some medical professionals (Cowan, Kristina). As president, it should be a priority for you to help eliminate this stigma and provide support for these people. This is especially important considering the fact that each year nearly 45,000 Americans die due to suicide, and there are 25 more attempts for every one person that succeeds ("Suicide Statistics — AFSP.").

Also, stereotypes towards people struggling in terms of mental health are a huge problem. For example, you stated “I feel that the gun-free zones and, you know, when you say that, that’s target practice for the sickos and for the mentally ill,” in a quote provided by an article by Marina Koren. This quote portrays a horrible stereotype faced by mentally ill people on the daily. These people are not who you may think that they are; they are human beings, not monsters. They deserve happiness and compassion just as much as those of us who are fortunate enough to have good, strong mental health. As president, you should not be promoting such inconsiderate statements as this.

In addition, you should not allow yourself the luxury of thinking that suicide is only harmful for the one attempting, because this is entirely untrue. It is estimated that for every person who attempts there are at least ten people who were close to them who will never be the same again. People surrounding someone who has committed suicide feel a huge amount of guilt along with their grief, and many of these people feel unable to speak openly about their feelings of guilt or pain towards their loss, also due to the mental health stigma (Cowan, Kristina). Much of the reason for this is ignorance, but it is still entirely unnecessary and harmful.

One of the most important things that can be done about this is to bring suicide prevention tactics and mental health screenings into schools, because statistics show that suicide is the leading cause of death in students aged 15-34 (Behm, Ronald J). We can drastically reduce suicide rates just by making an effort to overcome the mental health stigma and bringing suicide prevention tactics into more schools. No human being ever deserves to feel as though life is no longer worth it to them, like the world is crashing around them, and they simply don’t belong on this earth anymore. Human beings are beautiful, fragile creatures, and allowing everyone access to the help they need and eventual happiness without passing judgments is an attainable goal that we as a nation can work towards.

In conclusion, I’d like to thank you for your consideration and remind you that, as president, all people are your responsibility, and overall health in this country should be a priority, even for the mentally ill. Suicide prevention and the mental health stigma are huge issues and I would like to believe that you have a plan regarding them even though such a thing is not detailed on your website ("Healthcare Reform to Make America Great Again."). Mental illness is not something to be afraid of, nor is it something to be ashamed of. Our country needs to understand that concept in order for us to truly be able to make America great again.




Behm, Ronald J. "Tech Ends Suicide Together." AFSP. American Foundation for Suicide

Prevention, 2016. Web. 2 Oct. 2016.

Cowan, Kristina. "Suicide and Its Unrelenting Stigma." The Huffington Post., 26 Jan. 2015. Web. 02 Oct. 2016.

"Healthcare Reform to Make America Great Again." Make America Great Again! Donald J.

Trump for President Inc., n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.

"ICYMI - Trump's Ten Point Plan to Reform the VA." Trump Pence: Make America Great

Again. Donald J. Trump for President Inc., 11 July 2016. Web. 3 Oct. 2016.

Koren, Marina. "Donald Trump and 'The Sickos'" The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 29

Oct. 2015. Web. 25 Oct. 2016.

"Suicide Statistics — AFSP." AFSP. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 2014. Web. 2

Oct. 2016.

Eastern View High School

AP Language & Composition

AP Language & Composition students (11th grade) from Eastern View High School in Culpeper, VA are tasked with researching platforms, crafting political cartoons or pieces of satire, and writing letters and op-eds

All letters from this group →