September is National Suicide Awareness Month

You might not be able to understand why anyone would want to take their own life.

In retrospect, the daughter saw the red flags her father had given. How many times had he said he couldn’t go on like that anymore? He was so ill for so long. But they would talk and he would keep facing each new day, until he couldn’t be convinced anymore to keep trying to go on for the people who loved him. She was sure, even if she had seen the signs and tried to stop him, he would have found a way to leave.

The young wife never had dealt with suicide issues. That just wasn’t part of the crises in which she grew up. When she became aware of the situation within her own home, she didn’t know how to cope. Should she bring up her concerns to her husband? If he hadn’t thought of it, she certainly didn’t want to suggest it to him. She was afraid to ask him if he was having suicidal thoughts. But what would be the consequences if she didn’t step up and deal with the problem? First he was furious. Then he denied it. And in the end he admitted that he had been having such thoughts.

The elderly man, his wife and his mother-in-law lived together. He was saddened when they lost his mother-in-law, but he was devastated when he lost his wife. Widowed, lonely, depressed, he got in over his head with gambling. His wife’s brother refused to give him money to bail him out. Suicide was the only way out of his problems that he could see.

The issue of suicide is not only for the terminally ill, depressed persons, veterans suffering PTSD or gamblers. It also has become commonplace to hear of youth attempting, sometimes succeeding with suicide due to bullying and other problems.

The goal is to end suicide, helping those who suffer so much who cannot find a reason to keep going. Documentation advises that problem gamblers have the highest suicide rate over other addictions. One in five problem gamblers attempt suicide. It is estimated that 5 percent of all deaths are related to suicide. Among military veterans being cared for by the Veterans Health Administration, there are five deaths daily due to suicide. The suicide rate for men is higher than that of women.

“Depression carries a high risk of suicide,” advises WebMD. “Anyone who expresses suicidal thoughts or intentions should be taken very seriously … It is the second leading cause of death in people from age 10 to 34.” It is the 10th leading cause of death overall.

It’s important to know the signs to look for which indicate a suicide issue. You can learn more by searching online for terms such as “suicide,” “veteran suicide information,” “PTSD.” Check out www.cdc.gov, www.webmd.com and www.va.gov online. If you are concerned about someone you care about needing immediate help, or if you need help yourself, please, get the help. Call 9-1-1 for assistance. You also can call the National Suicide Hotline at 800-273-8255. To reach the Veterans Crisis Line call the same number, 800-273-8255 and press 1.

Ohio loses 1,200 to 1,500 people to suicide each year. Last year the suicide rate dropped to its lowest point in more than a decade, but still accounted for nearly 11 deaths per 100,000 people. More than 41,000 people died by suicide in the nation. That is about one death every 13.7 minutes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Suicide is a tragic reaction to stressful life situations, advises the Mayo Clinic. It is all the more tragic because it can be prevented. Individuals who are struggling with a stressful situation can reach the free, confidential, statewide Crisis Text Line provided through Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services by texting the key word “4hope” to 741741. Trained crisis counselors are standing by to provide a personal response and information on issues including suicidal thoughts, bullying, depression, self harm and more. The specialist helps the user to stay safe and healthy with effective, secure support and referrals.

For more information on what Ohio is doing to prevent suicides, visit http://mha.ohio.gov/suicideprevention

Today may be a horrible, impossible day. But at some time down the road, it may be the most wonderful, happy time that you will not want to miss.

Addiction has no address, but Family Recovery Center does. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, info@familyrecovery.org. FRC is funded, in part, by Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OHMHAS)

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