Mayor Rich Walker
Mayor Rich Walker

A Message from Mayor Rich Walker

September is typically a month for settling back into more stringent routines. Free time becomes less available, school-age children are back in school, travel teams are revving up, and the rhythm of our days and weeks becomes more rigid as we enter the fall months.

The shift in the demand for our time and energy often precedes a change in how we react to more robust schedules and the overall transition. And sometimes, these small shifts in our lives can add up to create heavier burdens that seem insurmountable.

September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. It offers us a time and space to check in with our mental health and that of family and friends. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. In 2021, 48,000 people died by suicide, which was one of the top nine leading causes of death for people ages 10-64. Sadly, I have firsthand knowledge of the way it can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families, and communities, as I had a brother who committed suicide.

This serious public health problem should be addressed, not quietly avoided. It is also preventable. The CDC Strategies for Action include the following community strategies that focus on preventing the risk of suicide before it occurs and reducing the immediate and long-term harms of suicidal behavior for individuals, families, communities, and society:

  • Strengthen economic supports
  • Create protective environments
  • Improve access and delivery of suicide care
  • Promote healthy connections
  • Teach coping and problem-solving skills
  • Identify and support people at risk
  • Lessen harm and prevent future risk

When we take a moment to acknowledge our stressors as a community and as individuals, we have better control of how we respond to the twists and turns of life.

This fall, as you ease into the new routine, know that while some days will be harder than others, we do not have to go it alone. If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call 988—the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. You can also use your smartphone to scan the following QR code, which will take you to the City of Parkland’s Mental Wellness page, which provides a number of mental health resources.

If you would like to share your thoughts on Suicide Prevention Awareness or Mental Health Awareness, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached via e-mail at or via cell phone at (973) 390-1453. Of course, I am frequently available monthly at Parkland businesses and love to talk with residents there. I encourage you to visit the City’s website,, and click on the social media icon that you prefer, to ensure that you stay informed on events and helpful information.

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