Suicide prevention - a shared responsibility


September 15, 2015 PHONE: (865) 719-7221

Suicide prevention – a shared responsibility

A year has passed since the suicide of comedian and Oscar winning actor, Robin Williams. Since then, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report over 40,000 people in this country have died by suicide. Clearly, we still have work to do.

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness month and is a timely opportunity to remember that help and hope are available for people living with, as William Styron wrote in his 1990 memoir, “Despair beyond despair.”

In 2013, 41,149 suicides were reported, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death for Americans. In that year, someone in the country died by suicide every 12.9 minutes. That means every 13 minutes a host of friends and family of the deceased are left trying to untangle a knot of pain, traumatic grief, and confusion. As the number of people dealing with this knot is growing, so too is our shared responsibility to act.

So, what can we do?

Experts believe that most suicidal individuals do not want to die. They just want to end the pain they are experiencing. Experts also know that suicidal crises tend to be brief. Early recognition of suicidal behaviors combined with timely intervention, leads to lives saved.

We can help prevent suicide through effective, science-based services,” said Acting SAMHSA Administrator Kana Enomoto. “There are programs in place to save lives and help people out of their despair and toward a brighter future. By reaching out to people contemplating suicide -- everyone – family, friends, teachers, faith community leaders, co-workers, healthcare providers -- can make a positive difference.”

Awareness, early intervention, and encouragement to seek help are important steps we can take. Here in the Anderson, Scott, Morgan, Campbell, and Roane County areas, immediate help comes from Ridgeview Behavioral Health Services who have caring professionals available to help through the Mobile Crisis Team, 24 hours a day at 1-800-870-5481. The national suicide crisis helpline is also a valuable resource 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Hope and treatment are available. Stories of recovery and healing do exist. Together, let us deepen our understanding of the despair felt by many; let us renew our commitment to eliminating the stigma associated with mental illness; and let us be resolute in suicide prevention efforts. Together, we can make a life saving impact and difference.

Michael Yates is Director of Development for Ridgeview
Ridgeview is a private, not for profit community mental health center with locations in Anderson, Campbell, Morgan, Roane, and Scott counties.

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