From time to time, people write the President…

Story of Hope

From time to time, people write the President and relate their troubles. If the person hints at suicide, the White House forwards the letter to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which turns it over to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to follow up. Recently we were asked by the Lifeline to contact a woman who lives locally. She had lost her job as a bank vice president and was nearly homeless along with her husband, who was also unemployed as well as disabled. Out of frustration and despair, the woman emailed President Obama never imagining that it would actually be answered. Our crisis line/211 director, Judi Hampshire, LMFT, was able to reach the woman and discuss her situation with her. The woman assured Judi that she wasn’t suicidal, she just felt helpless and needed to vent. Judi counseled her and gave her referrals to several resources. The call ended with the woman thanking Judi and saying how impressed she was that someone responded to her email to the President.

Our agency receives two to three White House letters every month. So do other crisis centers around the country. Each letter is taken seriously, and every effort is made to contact the letter writer and provide help and support.