Letter: Preventing suicide everyone’s responsibility

From: Dr. Sherm Franz (Community Mental Health Team co-chairman), Dr. David Rau, Dr. Michael Stark, Nicole Allen, Roger Brinkman, Debbie Early, Mary Ferdon, Annette Kleinhenz, Rich Lamborn, Jeff McQueary, Julie Miller, Beth Morris, Ray Morris (Community Mental Health Team co-chairman), Melissa Newland, Mike Richardson, Jon Rohde, Cheryl Warner, Sue Woosley and Jim Worton


National Suicide Prevention Week is Sept. 7 to 13, with the theme of “Preventing Suicide: Reaching Out and Saving Lives.” In the United States someone dies of suicide every 12.8 minutes. That equates to more than 41,000 suicides each year.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds. And an estimated 4.8 million Americans are survivors who grieve the loss of a friend, family member or loved one who died of suicide.

In our local community there are several organizations and groups of concerned residents and professionals whose goal is to have zero suicides in our community, including those who submitted this letter.

Most suicidal individuals do not want to die; they just want to end the pain they are experiencing. Many people may think about suicide at some point in their lives; those thoughts may be either fleeting or persistent.

Sometimes a person thinking of suicide will tell someone that he/she feels no reason to live. At other times, the signs may be very difficult to detect. Research shows that if suicidal thoughts are detected early, lives can be saved.

Some of the many signs that indicate someone could become suicidal are:

  • Withdrawal from friends or social activities.
  • Experienced a recent severe loss.
  • Expresses a sense of hopelessness.
  • Has heightened anxiety and emotional discomfort.
  • Irritability or agitation that is unusual for the person.
  • Feels humiliated or rejected by others.
  • Can’t make the sadness go away.
  • Can’t see themselves as worthwhile.
  • Can’t seem to get control of their lives.
  • Can’t see a way out.
  • Can’t make the pain go away.

If a friend or loved one indicates directly or indirectly that he or she may be suicidal, reach out and offer your support and the support of others. Help them reach out to family, teachers, counselors, physicians or clergy for support and guidance. Reach out and connect the loved one to mental health services and other professional help.

The national suicide prevention lifeline number is 800-273-8255. Preventing suicide is everyone’s responsibility. We are all part of the solution. Reach out and save lives.