Improve mental health and stop suicide

On June 10 through 13, I traveled to Washington, D.C., along with more than 225 American Foundation for Suicide Prevention advocates from all 50 states to educate Congress on priority areas to help improve mental health and prevent suicide. We provided information to all 535 Congressional offices urging them to support legislation in five key areas that would play a vital role in preventing suicide and improving mental health across the country:

1. Increased funding for suicide prevention research

2. Insurance coverage for mental health and substance use conditions

3. Military and veteran suicide prevention

4. Preservation of funding for suicide prevention programs within SAMHSA and CDC

5. Increased funding for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255 [TALK]) and crisis centers

I care about suicide prevention because I lost my son at age 23 to suicide and because suicide is impacting more and more families each year. According to the 2016 data from the CDC, suicide is the seventh leading cause of death in Colorado, and the second leading cause of death for people ages 15 -44 in Colorado. This is a public health crisis that needs to be addressed now!

I am dedicating my time to educating others about suicide prevention and mental health. In meeting with members of Congress, it’s the collective goal of all AFSP advocates to effect real change in our government and further the mission to stop suicide. You too can help make mental health as important as physical health by contacting your Congressional representatives to support this mission.

Adrienne Leonard, Broomfield

Boycott McDonald’s over animal cruelty

Summer is here. Many people are starting to think more about our beach bodies. We like to get outside, feel the sun and get some exercise to keep us healthy and looking good. Generally, staying healthy involves what we eat as well as what we do with our off time. For many people, McDonald’s food generally isn’t on the short list for healthy things to eat in the summer (though I’m sure we all indulge from time to time).

Besides perhaps being a less-than-healthy choice of where to eat, McDonald’s is currently involved in an animal cruelty scandal. Chicken at McDonald’s comes from birds that are raised in absolutely abhorrent conditions. They are packed into filthy sheds and never even get to see the sun. The dense ammonia fumes in these sheds, which come from the chickens’ own excrement, commonly cause chemical burns on the birds’ lungs. Besides living in horrible conditions, these birds are bred to grow unnaturally fast. Researchers at the University of Arkansas found that if humans were to grow at the same rate as these chickens, a baby born at 6 pounds would weigh 660 pounds at just 2 months old. This growth rate means that organ failures are heartbreakingly common and many birds will simply collapse under the weight of their own bodies.

People have the choice to live healthy lives (or any kind of life they so desire). Unfortunately, these chickens don’t get that choice. I hope the people of Boulder will help these poor birds live better lives by calling on McDonald’s to improve the welfare standards in their supply chains. Until measurable progress is made (details on potential improvements can be found at, I hope the people of Boulder will join me in boycotting McDonald’s.

David Owen Bright, Boulder

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