DEAR ABBY: Please print my letter about volunteering on suicide prevention/crisis hotlines.
Suicide affects most of us at some time in our lives. Most of us know someone who has considered suicide, attempted it or killed himself or herself. While it is a challenge to talk with someone about suicide, doing so opens communication in an amazing way. It is an enriching experience for both the person in crisis and the volunteer. I hope the U.S. surgeon general's recent statements on this issue will draw nationwide attention to its importance. There IS something that can be done about it -- become a volunteer! Contact your local suicide prevention/crisis hotline and find out how. -- A VOLUNTEER IN SAN FRANCISCO
DEAR VOLUNTEER: Your letter is an important one. I'm often asked to recommend worthy causes to which people can donate time or money. I can think of no more meaningful way to fill one's extra time than by literally saving the lives of others. It takes some time and training to become a hotline volunteer; however, the emotional payoff is beyond description.