Congresswoman opens up on House floor about partner's suicide

Congresswoman opens up on House floor about partner's suicide
© Stefani Reynolds

Rep. Susan WildSusan WildThe Hill's Morning Report - Congress returns: What to expect Hopes dim for passage of Trump trade deal Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids — Senate panel advances bipartisan package on health costs | Grassley, Wyden in talks on deal to limit drug price increases | Court asks if blue states have standing in ObamaCare suit MORE (D-Penn.) opened up about the death of her life partner Monday evening on the House floor to draw attention to the "national emergency" of suicide. 

Monday was the one-month anniversary of Kerry Acker's death, Wild said. 

"What most people don't know is that Kerry's death was a suicide," she said in a tearful floor speech. 


Acker, who was 63, "shouldn't have had a care in the world," she said, adding that he was financially secure, with a loving family and dozens of friends. 

"He loved them all, and yet, incomprehensibly, he seemingly did not grasp the toll his absence would have on those who loved him," she said. 

"Why am I sharing this very personal story? Because we all need to recognize that mental health issues know no boundaries. I do not want anyone else to suffer as he suffered, nor for any family to suffer as mine has over the past month." 

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

The suicide rate increased by 33 percent between 1999 and 2017, the CDC reported last week. 

"Behind these numbers are grieving partners and spouses, parents and children, siblings, friends and relatives," Wild said late Monday. 

"To anyone out there who is struggling: I'm urging you to reach out. There are people who love you and who will suffer more than you know if they lose you."

The phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.