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Richard Sherman’s situation shows that lives can be saved, with help from family and others

Mike Florio wonders what the San Francisco 49ers will do with Trey Lance if Jimmy Garappolo starts, after the big trade they made to get Lance in the NFL draft.

Last month’s incident involving veteran cornerback Richard Sherman arose by all appearances from mental-health challenges with which he has been dealing. As reported by Patrick Malone of the Seattle Times, the issues date back to at least December 2020.

In the middle of that month, Sherman’s family removed four handguns and a semiautomatic rifle from the home. In late January, however, Sherman sent text messages to his wife suggesting that he intended to take his own life. At the same time, he tried to acquire another gun.

Sherman’s wife contacted a friend at the King County Sheriff’s office, seeking the issuance of an Extreme Risk Protection Order. By February, such an order was issued, and it successfully deescalated the crisis.

“Time is one of our most effective tools,” King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. Tim Meyer explained to Malone. “When we can slow things down, delay delivery of a firearm, we can harness the resources we have to get someone in crisis the services they need. It is a team effort in these cases to do that, and it takes families coming forward to allow us to help them with this work.”

The ability in King County to obtain a Extreme Risk Protection Order became law in 2016, via a voter-approved initiative. It’s something that hopefully will be copied in other jurisdictions. In Sherman’s case, it may have saved his life.

Millions of Americans struggle with mental health issues. The longstanding stigma has greatly subsided. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or if you have concerns about someone who could be, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

That’s a number that should be in everyone’s phone contacts. I just put it in mine. You should put it in yours.

We wish Sherman and his family the best as he works through these issues. And we hope that others who are dealing with similar issues will find inspiration in Sherman’s experiences to get the assistance they need. No temporary struggles should ever result in a permanent solution. Things can and will get better, and resources are readily available to help anyone dealing with such struggles to get through a moment of crisis.

So whether it’s you or a family member or a friend or a colleague or someone you just happen to stumble across wherever you may be, it’s important to have immediate access to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Put the number in your phone now.