Speaking from the floor of the House of Representatives, Rep. Susan Wild of Pennsylvania tearfully revealed on Tuesday night that her life partner had died by suicide the previous month, and urged people struggling with mental health issues to seek help.
“Why am I sharing this very personal story? Because we all need to recognize that mental health issues know no boundaries,” she said. “I do not want anyone else to suffer as he suffered, nor any family to suffer as mine has over the past month.”
Wild, who is Jewish, said her partner, 63-year-old Kerry Acker, “shouldn’t have had a care in the world,” with financial security and loving family and friends. “And yet, incomprehensibly, he seemingly did not grasp the toll the absence would have on those who loved him,” she said.
I‘m sharing the story of my recent loss because we need to recognize that mental health issues know no boundaries. Behind the statistics are grieving partners and spouses, parents and children, siblings and friends. We must act - removing the stigma cannot just be a slogan. pic.twitter.com/3w9Ctue8dW— Rep. Susan Wild (@RepSusanWild) June 26, 2019
Wild urged people dealing with mental health issues to talk to loved ones and consider calling 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK.
“To anyone who is concerned about someone in their lives, please pick up the phone or take that drive to go see them. Don’t wait,” Wild concluded her speech, to applause from the gallery.
Wild, a Democrat who represents the Lehigh Valley, was first elected in 2018. She has co-sponsored bills aimed at improving access to mental health services through Medicare and Medicaid, Roll Call reported.
WATCH: Rep. Susan Wild Urges Suicide Prevention