EDITORIAL: Thinking about suicide? Reach out

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It’s difficult to understand how anyone could make the decision that death is their best option.

Three people killed themselves in Perry County the weekend of Sept. 24-25. As is our policy, we reported only the one that occurred in a public place and prompted the responses of rescue agencies.

It is easy to view suicide as a final solution to temporary problems. Through that perspective and in view of the multitudes of people who would step up to help if they could, we can’t fathom anyone feeling they would be better off dead.

Seth Clark, assistant principal at Perry Central High School, is a member of a Leadership Perry County class that is looking at how they can step in to tell people alternatives are available. A member of that class killed herself, eliciting a desire in other members to bring awareness to the issue. He said they’re looking at arranging something, perhaps to occur at community schools, that might bring professional-sports people or organizations, big-name performers and speakers together in fun events, perhaps next September, when World Suicide Prevention Week is observed.

That event and the efforts of groups like the American Association of Suicidology and the International Association for Suicide Prevention are evidence that people across the planet want to reach out to those who would take their own lives, as if to say, “we care about you and want you to stay with us.”

Sadly, suicide claims approximately 1 million lives worldwide each year, according to the suicidology group, an average of one suicide every 40 seconds. The association estimates 10 to 20 suicide attempts are made for each one that is completed, resulting in several million suicide attempts each year. Suicidal behavior affects individuals of all ages, genders, races and religions.

“Protective factors are also the same in all corners of the world,” the association notes in information provided at www. suicidology.org. “High self-esteem, social connectedness, problem-solving skills, supportive family and friends are all examples of factors that buffer against suicide and suicidal behaviors.”

Among the materials available at that site is a suggested public-service announcement that asserts, “Experts believe that most suicidal individuals do not want to die. They just want to end the pain they are experiencing. When suicidal intent or risk is detected early, lives can be saved.”

Signs that a person may be contemplating suicide include saying so, seeking ways to do it, increasing alcohol or drug use, no sense of purpose or hope, mood changes or acting withdrawn, angry or reckless.

If you are considering suicide, please know there are many around you who want to help. Reach out to them, and you will learn that you do have value and purpose. If you suspect someone may be thinking about it, reach out to them and to the school, church, law-enforcement or other officials who want to help.

The American Association of Suicidology says suicidal crises tend to be brief.

In other words, life is going to get better. Please stick around to enjoy it.

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