The suicide rate in American is up by 33% over the last 20 years, contributing to a lower average life expectancy. Forty-seven-thousand Americans killed themselves in 2017 and many are unaware of the staggering numbers. Research shows things like alcohol, substance abuse, isolation and smartphone addiction contribute to skyrocketing rates.

Clearly, rates of substance abuse are very high as the opioid epidemic continues to ravage the nation. Seventy-two thousand Americans died of overdoses last year. This week, First Lady Melania Trump addressed the issue at Liberty University, saying:

“I want you to know I am also here as a mother.  But rather than lecture you about the dangers of drug abuse as most mothers would – and should – I am going to tell you what I have learned in this past year because I believe education and learning is key to making the right decisions on your own behalf.”

As our sister organization, Independent Women's Forum, has reported, addiction affects women in unique ways and it's important to tackle those with specific care. I’m thankful the First Lady has taken on this issue so it can receive greater advocacy and help maintain a movement of prevention, education and recovery.