Personally, I never thought I'd be saying thank you to Dr. Phil. I can't even say that I've watched more than five minutes of Dr. Phil, on his show or on Oprah. But, Dr. Phil has done something that has gotten a bit of attention in the suicide prevention field.

As part of a strategic partnership that Dr. Phil has formed with The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1.800.273.TALK (8255) - Dr. Phil created an avatar on the Lifeline Gallery. The Lifeline Gallery is an interactive online forum featuring stories of suicide survivors (people who have lost a loved one to suicide), attempt survivors (people who survived a suicide attempt), and suicide prevention advocates. Dr. Phil's avatar is a very accurate two-dimensional representation of the real Dr. Phil; the real Dr. Phil has recorded a message for Lifeline Gallery viewers.

Earlier this year, Dr. Phil focused a show on "The Bridge," a documentary on suicide and the Golden Gate Bridge. On the show, he directly promoted the Lifeline number.

So, thank you, Dr. Phil, for helping me remember that when putting information about suicide into the public sphere, we should always offer resources for people who may need help. As I write about suicide in a public forum, I want to make sure that the Lifeline is promoted as a resource: 1.800.273.TALK (8255)

Copyright 2009 Elana Premack Sandler, All Rights Reserved

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