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By Gordon Clay, public advocate for health issues, www.Zeroattempts.org, Brookings
In the Sept. 2 issue of the Pilot, we looked at the growing impact suicide has on our nation, state and county. In the Sept. 16 issue, we looked at suicide risk factors, warning signs and how to respond.
In this third and final installment, we look at resources and trainings designed to give you the confidence to have that conversation that may save a life because suicide is preventable.
The most common condition associated with suicide is depression. It happens not only in adults, but in teens, children and yes, even toddlers. (See http://bit.ly/2xCt2Mu)
Most of us feel sad, lonely or depressed at times. It’s a normal reaction to loss, life’s struggles or injured self-esteem. But when these feelings become overwhelming, cause physical symptoms and last for long periods of time, they can keep you from leading a normal, active life. Check http://bit.ly/1gsuZ3l to take an online test.
Why learn more
•The biggest reason is peace of mind.
As a parent, neighbor or friend, you are exposed to risk factors and warning signs, very possibly, every day.
Since 90 percent of people who die by suicide have exhibited warning signs to family and friends, you may have missed an opportunity to help a friend in crisis if you had only known the signs and had gained the confidence in knowing what to do.
•Suicide is not inevitable for anyone.
Evidence shows talking about suicide, reducing access to means of self-harm, and following up with loved ones are just some of the actions we can all take to help others,
•Something as simple as letting someone know you’re there for them, and as complex as saying you’ve noticed something changed and you’re worried.
Being a friend is not always easy, but it’s what a friend does.
•Be a voice to spread prevention awareness by speaking up when it’s easier to stay quiet, especially in a bullying situation.
•Talk with your family about suicide. Share the need for training in your community, encourage the development of counseling services for anyone who may need it. Harness the power of social media and engage in a bigger conversation.
•Know the risk factors that make it more likely that someone will consider, attempt or die by suicide.
They can’t cause or predict a suicide attempt, but they’re important to be aware of.
•Knowing the warning signs can help you determine if a loved one is at risk for suicide, especially if the behavior is new, has increased or seems related to a painful event, loss or change.
•Take a course in suicide prevention.
There are excellent trainings available to the public that teach the knowledge and skills to those able and willing to learn how to help someone who is thinking about suicide. (See http://bit.ly/2k6oRp0).
A Health Literacy Training is coming to Brookings and Gold Beach on Oct. 26, 2017. Contact email@example.com.
•If you lost a friend, family member or other loved one to suicide, consider dropping in to a free, peer-led group the first Friday of each month starting at 6 p.m. at Costa Clinical Psychology, at 625 Spruce St. Brookings.
What else can you do?
•If you are a parent, read tips for parents to talk with their children about “13 Reasons Why” and suicide at http://bit.ly/2xyXfi0.
•If you are a teacher, read “What Every Teacher Should Know about Preventing Youth Suicide” at http://bit.ly/2ya9Dps.
•If you’re a friend, learn what it takes to ask “R U OK?” That simple question could save a life.
•If you’re concerned about our high suicide rate here in Curry County, get your school, workplace and community involved. And keep the conversations going all year long.
Check out these three important music videos: http://bit.ly/2fttZyr http://bit.ly/1u6RJbI http://bit.ly/2wZFMQw, and some of the 150 other music videos on suicide and prevention at Symposium on Suicide (http://bit.ly/2yuCjpj).
We’re all important pieces of this complicated puzzle called suicide prevention. From stakeholders, to volunteer leaders, to advocates and individual Curry County citizens, we all have a role to play as we embark in the next year to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide. A lot depends on how well we all work together.
People have suffered in silence far too long. The research is clear. Suicide is preventable. It can be as simple as reaching out to a friend and ask “R U OK?”
Together, we can bring hope to those affected by suicide by raising awareness. Become an everyday hero, as you are an important part of the solution.
This afternoon (Sept. 30), please join our 10 major stakeholders of this puzzle at the Chetco Public Community Library from 3 to 5 p.m. to learn why this is and what your part might be. Become inspired and equipped to begin making that difference today.
Someone is counting on you.