Many of us have been touched by the sudden death of a loved one or a close friend, lost to a self-inflicted cause. When we hear about such events, it spurs many emotions and questions. Did we see the signs? Could we have helped prevent this from happening?
The answers do not come easily. Ultimately, we come to terms with the realization that it happened and that there may never be answers. At least none that will make us feel any better about the loss.
According to the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Colorado, suicide claims the lives of over 31,000 people in the United States each year. The biggest tragedy is that this “major public health problem” as described by the US Surgeon General, is preventable.
The week of September 9th is National Suicide Prevention week. There are many resources available year-round, but during this particular week, they are highlighted to illustrate the variety of tools available to anyone searching for solutions.
On a national level, there are organizations such as the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (afsp.org); Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (save.org), and, there are 24-hour call centers staffed by mental health professionals with one goal, to help prevent suicide. The Suicide Prevention Lifeline (suicidepreventionlifeline.org) is one such organization that offers free and confidential support for anyone in distress. They can be reached at (800) 273-8255. The National Suicide Hotline is also available at (800) 273-8255 (TALK).
Locally, Grand County has counseling services available through Mind Springs Health (mindspringshealth.org), with Mental Health Navigators available to help with any situation. There are also several individual, licensed professionals in the county that specialize in assistance and prevention.
Grand County’s population is generally a “tougher” breed, and many resist the offer of assistance, often leaning toward “fixing it themselves”. But no one is completely immune from feelings of hopelessness and despair. If you or a loved one is experiencing these emotions, know that help could be just a phone call away.
The impact of suicide is far reaching, affecting friends and family as well as community. While things may seem hopeless at the time, it is important to remember that things can and will get better. There is no shame in asking for help – we all need it from time to time.