I Want You!


As those of you who know me and follow this blog are well aware, Suicide Prevention is an important cause to me. Each year I talk about suicide prevention. I raise funds. I walk. I do it because I believe I can make a difference, and I know with your help, we can make a difference.

I do it for Jay. I do it for Barbara. I do it for Lyssa. I do it for Austin. I do it for my friends who I know struggle.

I do it because I don’t want to add another name to the list.

Information / Statistics

I want to share a some information and facts from the American Foundation for Suicide Preventions (AFSP) and the CDC, and then I’m going to ask that you help – that you choose to make a difference.

  1. Suicide is one of the 10 leading causes of death in the United States, and it’s preventable
  2. As the suicide rate continues to rise, we must make mental health a national priority — and advocate for more investment in suicide research and nationwide prevention efforts
  3. There is no single cause for suicide, and suicide risk increases when several health factors and life stressors converge to create an experience of hopelessness and despair — learn the warning signs at afsp.org/signs
  4. Everyone has a role to play in preventing suicide, and together we can learn the suicide risks and warning signs, and encourage those who struggle to seek help
  5. Assume you are the only one who will reach out, have an honest conversation, ask directly about suicide, and let them know you care
  6. Conditions like depression, anxiety, and substance use problems, especially when unaddressed, increase the risk of suicide — most people who actively manage their mental health conditions go on to engage in life
  7. If we encourage more people to seek treatment, we will make a huge difference in improving mental health and reducing suicide
  8. Suicide is complex, answers may not come easily, and it may take time to understand the thoughts and feelings associated with a suicide — you don’t have to go through this difficult experience alone
  9. Driving demand for better treatment will improve the field of mental health
  10. We can #StopSuicide

Some Facts

  • 45,979 Americans died by suicide in 2020
    • It is the 3rd leading cause of death for ages 10-19
    • It is the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 20-34
    • It is the 4th leading cause of death for ages 35-44
    • Over 1/3 of people who died by suicide were 55 or older
  • 1.2 million Americans attempted suicide in 2020.
  • In 2019, the suicide rate for Veterans was 1.5x higher than for a non-Veteran.
  • 54% of Americans have been affected by suicide in some way.
  • 90% of those who died by suicide had a diagnosable mental health condition at the time of their death.
  • 46% of Americans ages 18+ living with a mental health condition received treatment in the past year.
  • 72% of communities in the United States did not have enough mental health providers to serve residents in 2021, according to federal guidelines.

How You Can Make an Impact

You can make a difference. Here’s how:

Walk with us!

  • Join the Jay Walkers on October 29th and walk with us either virtually (send us a photo of you walking to be included in our walk collage) or in Austin, TX at the Capitol. (Click on the link and select “Join Our Team”.)
  • You’ll be with a welcoming and supportive community
  • Let’s have the biggest group yet!
  • Show Austin, TX that Mental Health Matters and help remove the stigma around suicide

Make a Donation!

  • Donate to AFSP through the Jay Walkers Fundraising Page. (Click the link and select “Donate”)
  • We brought back a lot of fun incentives – haikus, custom disaster-pieces, and bad performances to name a few – all for a good cause!
  • Plus, your donation goes directly to AFSP whose mission is to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide. (Read more about the work they do by following the AFSP link)

Choose to make a difference today.

Thank you all for your continued support. I look forward to seeing you on the 29th when I will be speaking on the Capitol steps.

A Message from Keith

In my email this morning – from my friend Keith:

Hi Beth,

As you know, I got braces last week.  What you may not know is how much they cost:  A lot.  I recently realized, however, that not only will these braces benefit me with straightened teeth, but they will also benefit everyone else by making my smile nicer to see.

With that logic, I don’t see how you could deny that these are no longer “my” braces and “my” cost to bear but instead are “our” braces and “our” cost to bear.  Since this affects so many people, I have determined your low, low share is only $100.00.

Please let me know when I can expect the check.


It’s emails like this that make me glad to have the friends I do. I wrote Keith back and let him know I’d be quoting him. His response was one of disappointment; he had hoped I would either agree to sending a check or sass him. He was prepared! He shared the response he had waiting. It wasn’t bad. I explained trying to match his cleverness would have been rather pointless on my part. I knew I had already been bested without having typed a single word. “I yield, good sir!”

But on a more serious note, you have to admit he did make an excellent point. His smile really is OUR shared burden. So, just let me know if you’re interested in covering my part, since seeing Keith’s new smile will make me happy, and when I’m happy, I write about happy things, which in turn makes you feel much happier. A pay-it-forward situation. And I want you to be happy! 🙂

The Season of Giving

There are many wonderful and worthy charitable organizations in desperate need of volunteers and donations so they can continue to move forward with their missions.  The ones that are closest to my heart deal with injustice or cruelty to either people or animals.  You can tell a lot about a a society by how it treats its people.  You can tell a lot about a person by how they treat their animals.

Today I’m going to focus on animals, thanks to a story a friend passed on to me last night.  As a small disclaimer, I want you to know that while I’m not quite a PETA fanatic who wants you to think of fish as “sea kittens” in an attempt to get you to stop eating them, I can get quite passionate on the subject.  I’m one of those people who have a hard time with headlines dealing with animal cruelty, like a recent story about gorilla smuggling or any number of local articles sensationally detailing acts of senseless hostility towards animals.  And don’t get me started on humans encroaching on wildlife habitats and the subsequent conflicts that usually leave a species devastated, because then I’ll likely start ranting about the importance of ecosystems.  No, I don’t care that you don’t feel that particular endangered newt is important nor that you can’t see how this newt plays into a much larger story that could impact you.  (Aside: A woman told me recently that the wildfires that destroyed thousands of acres here in Texas was due to an endangered toad people weren’t allowed to destroy.  I thought it had to do with the extreme drought.  Silly me. I stared at her like she was about to start drooling at any minute and two extra heads were going to burst forth from her body.)

In the range of what I think falls under cruelty is animal testing especially on large mammals.  (Please, test all the venomous snakes you want.  I am 100% ok with that).  I had heard from Sam’s physical therapist that beagles (of which Sam is one) were frequently used for experimentation.  The gist of the conversation was how I should be glad they could fix Sam’s knees because there were people out there crippling healthy beagles in order to learn how to make mine right again.  Great! Bust out the party balloons.  You maimed an animal for Sam.  Needless to say I was appalled and by the time I got home, I was in the throes of a serious rant. I just don’t believe that they couldn’t find a reasonable amount of animals who had injured themselves to practice their surgical techniques on and thus were forced into slashing the ACL tendons of healthy beagles.  Of course, I may live in a world of moonbeam slides and fairy clouds.  If so, then I’m very happy here.

That being said, the article I was sent deals with a rescue group called the Beagle Freedom Project.  This organization helps to place beagles who have never known a world outside of a crate into a home with a family so that those dogs can live the rest of their days as dogs.  Here’s a video of one of their recent rescues:

I’m also fond of Austin Pets Alive! whose mission is to eliminate the killing of companion animals.  Then there’s also Hound Rescue who took great care of Sam before we knew her.

While these organizations are particularly close to my heart there are many more out there (some aren’t even animal related).  So, if you’re trying to think of a way to give back to the community while you’re out doing your holiday shopping, please remember your local charities.  Whether it’s with the gift of a monetary donation or through volunteering your time, you’ll be helping that group achieve its mission.  Plus, you’ll walk away with that warm fuzzy feeling that you’ve helped give a little back.

And if you do help a beagle, Sam will wag a little extra this holiday season.