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Monday, February 2, 2009

Action Alert for our friends in Georgia: SPAN GA

Survivors of Suicide and the Suicide Prevention Community
We are in need of your assistance quickly!!!
On January 14th, 2009, the Governor released his 2009 Fiscal Year final recommendations as well as the 2010 Budget Recommendations. These recommendations included discontinuing all suicide prevention activities and removed ALL funding for FY2010 and all funds not currently encumbered for FY2009. Basically, our Suicide Prevention Program put in place in 2006 by HB 1092 was not just given cuts as other programs were, but eliminated. We will lose our funding to retain a Suicide Prevention Coordinator, our Epidemiologist and all related activities will cease. This is years worth of work to get this program and funding in place- lost, bringing us back to starting over. All of our suicide prevention work so far was begun and sustained by bringing the grassroots voice of the people and our communities, to the government. And it is important that our voices are heard from every county in Georgia.
So far, these cuts are all recommendations, so there is time…YOU CAN HELP!! We are asking that you CALL AND WRITE your state Senator, Representative and Governor Perdue, and ask them to support the restoration of funding for the Suicide Prevention Program.

This is an action that needs to be taken NOW, this week and next. The legislature will be making this final determination soon.

I want to remind each of you that this grassroots movement is the basis for which our nation was founded. We are constituents in our Senators, Representatives and Governors communities. We have the first amendment right to write and call and ask for our leaders to support our needs. They are people just like we are. When enough of us ask the same request, the request itself is taken to a much more powerful level. Help us to let the voice of survivors and the suicide prevention community be heard!

Don’t be shy, and when you call, ask for your legislator. It is best to speak directly to your legislator, so try to achieve that. But if it is not possible, leave a detailed message for them. They do keep track of these calls and the subject of the calls, so be sure to leave the message that you would like to speak with your legislator about restoring the funding to the Suicide Prevention Program. Be polite and be positive!
Read the Facts Sheet about the program as well as the sample letter and know what you would like to say. Use the talking points as your guide.

For a letter, you need to get it off quickly. A personal letter is the best choice. We have included a sample letter. Feel free to create a letter completely of your own or using this sample as a guideline for your talking points within the letter, or use the sample text for your own letter. Sign it personally. Again, be polite and positive!

• Disappointed at the cuts to the Suicide Prevention Program
• Relate your personal story. (short and succinct)
• The economic crisis and unemployment contribute to depression and suicide risk. In this economic time it is more imperative that the funding is in place to support these needs.
• Suicide is preventable.
• With a small amount of funding, the Suicide Prevention Program has done an incredible amount of population based work that has positively impacted our communities statewide and we support the continuation of this work. (see program facts sheet)
• Ask your legislator to support the restoration of all funding for the Suicide Prevention Program.

As we need voices from all over the state, please forward this to any and all of your friends, family and colleagues in Georgia! Start your own email tree…send it on to everyone that you can and ask them to respond quickly.

I have attached the fact sheet that will be provided to the legislators as well as a sample letter. Please review them.


If you do not know who your Senator or Representatives or need to find their exact mailing address and phone, you can go to this link and put in your zip code and it will take you to a list of the legislators for your address.

Then if you click on the legislator’s name, it will take you to more information. (If the link doesn’t open, just copy and paste into your browser.) When you are directed to your Legislator, there will be tabs over the picture and one will say contact. Click on it and it will give you their mailing address and phone numbers.

Please use the Atlanta address and phone at the Capitol because the legislature is in session.

After you call and/or mail a letter, contact us to let us know what happened with your contact. It is an important part of advocacy to keep track of contacts and coverage. We would like to be able to know how many Senators and Representatives that we reached and how many calls and letters they received. Then as we make our personal appointments to meet with them, we are able to better represent you in every community in Georgia. Feel free to call or email just to give a brief update on what action you were able to take and what happened.

So my contact information is:

Sheri McGuinness
770-517-6405 Home Office
770-354-7616 Cell

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