2018-06-14 / Opinions

Letter to the editor

Community Action meeting set for June 14

Dear Editor,

Some of the recent national news coverage talks about the rate of suicide deaths increasing by 30 percent over the past few decades. This number came from the Centers for Disease Control June Vital Statistics report. This same report states that over half of the individuals who died by suicide had no mental health diagnosis. There have been a couple high profile deaths by suicide in the past week. These have raised awareness in our community that people from all walks of life can die by suicide.

Unfortunately, many people still view suicide as taboo. When we recognize that someone feels like a burden or like they don’t belong those are risk factors we should take seriously. Often, people will consider death by suicide but do not act on those thoughts. If you are feeling unsafe and need someone to talk to, you can always call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

There are two main ways we can help friends and neighbors who may be considering taking their own life: reduce the availability of lethal means (remove or at least lock up medication, sharp instruments, and firearms) and give them time to think while being with someone who can keep them safe. There are several online guides and training programs available for those who wish to be lifesavers through the Suicide Prevention Resource Center website links. For in-person trainings, ask at your local doctor, school or community mental health.

We can start building a stronger community by promoting volunteering and mentoring relationships. Developing these two interpersonal interactions on a community wide level may reduce feelings of burdensomeness and disconnection. Knowledge and experience gained from years developing skills can be passed on.

Last month, a group of five volunteers got together and spread mulch around City Park and the Log Cabins. This was the first of hopefully many volunteer projects. Anyone interested in a continued conversation about volunteering and mentoring is welcome to join us at Huron Behavioral Health, Thursday, June 14 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. We will plan our next Community Action update on potential collaboration with existing groups and list future projects. The sole purpose of this group is to increase volunteerism in our community.

Ruth Schwendinger, BA, Prevention
Specialist, Huron Behavioral Health

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