(BEDFORD) – Two groups came together Saturday morning to bring about awareness on a subject that sometimes is very difficult to discuss – suicide.
This topic is especially hard for men and those who deal with mental health issues because of the stigma associated with it.
The Lawrence County Suicide Coalition and Darkness Into Light joined one another to bring the common goal of supporting those who have attempted suicide (survivors) and support the families of those who have loved ones who committed suicide.
“I myself have struggled with suicide my whole life and attempting suicide. I have attempted suicide about twelve times. My first attempt was at five years old, I am now 33,” said Amber Kelley of Darkness Into Light.
“The reason why we started this group is to bring awareness, especially with men. When men struggle there is such a stigma, they are not allowed to talk without being ridiculed, put down, and seem weak,” said Kelley. “We have lost five men that were very close to us in the last six months just this year and this is why this event is so important to us.”
“I am here to represent my baby brother (Bobby Booker). He passed away this year on July 25th trying to let the guys know they can reach out and talk,” said Kristen Brummett who attended the walk on Saturday.
The Lawrence County Suicide Coalition has been in existence ten years, with being very active the last five according to Terry Sanders, one of the organizers of Saturday’s event.
The organization wants to be able to educate the people of Lawrence County about the prevalence of suicide, preventive steps to take, signs to watch for, and to help those who have attempted suicide and the people left behind.
Sanders, in talking with the Lawrence County Coroner Robert Herr, says Lawrence County had about 15 suicides this year.
The group hands out literature and tries to work one on one with those struggling, direct them to the crisis hotline, and Centerstone is a local counseling center that helps with mental health issues.
“People should not be afraid to talk if they need help. The stigma around mental problems has to go away so we can help these people.”
Approximately 50 people showed up Saturday morning. The Bedford mayor made opening remarks and prayers were offered before the group started out on the walk from Thornton Park Shelter House and made their way back.
Talk Save Lives:
A. Some People Are More At Risk For Suicide Than Others
- Health Factors
- Mental Health Condition
- Substance use problems
- Bipolar Disorder
- Schizophrenia and psychosis
- Personality traits of aggression, mood changes and poor relationships
- Conduct disorder
- Anxiety disorder
- Serious or Chronic Health Conditions and/or Pain
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Environmental Factors
- Access To lethal means including firearms, and drugs
- Prolonged stress, such as harassment, bullying, relationship problems, or unemployment
- Stressful life events, which include a death, divorce, or job loss
- Exposure to another person’s suicide, or sensationalized accounts of suicide
- Historical Factors
- Previous suicide attempts
- Family History of Suicide
- Childhood Abuse, Neglect or Trauma
B. Always watch for Warning Signs of Suicide:
Talk, Behavior, or Mood
- If a person talks about –
- Killing themselves
- Feeling hopeless
- Having no reason to live
- Being a burden to others
- Feeling trapped
- Unbearable pain
Behaviors that may signal risk, especially if related to a painful event, loss, or change –
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Looking for a way to end their lives, such as searching online for materials or means
- Withdrawing from activities
- Isolating from family or friends
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
- Giving away prized possessions
People who are considering Suicide Often Display One or More of the following moods.
- Loss of Interest
Assume You are The Only One Who Will Reach Out:
- Talk In private – Listen to their story, let them know you care, ask directly about suicide, calmly and without judgment. Show understanding and take their concerns seriously. Let them know their life matters to you. That one conversation can save a life.
If a person says they are thinking about suicide:
Take Them Seriously – Someone considering suicide is experiencing a life threatening health crisis and may not believe they can be helped. Work with them to keep them safely away from lethal means like firearms and drugs and remind them that their suffering is temporary.
Stay with them and call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK ( 8255) Be sure to follow up after the crisis to see how they are doing.
If You Are The Struggling:
- Do not wait to reach out. Seek mental health treatment, or tell your clinician about your suicidal thinking. Treat yourself like you would treat someone else who needs your help.
The suicide rate increased 33 percent from 1999 through 2017, from 10.5 to 14 suicides per 100,000 people (NCHS Data Brief No. 330, November 2018). Rates have increased more sharply since 2006. Suicide ranks as the fourth leading cause of death for people ages 35 to 54, and the second for 10- to 34-year-olds. It remains the 10th leading cause of death overall.
If you would like more information about these local organizations go to their Facebook page – Darkness Into Light https://www.facebook.com/groups/274214447190349
Facebook page – Lawrence County Suicide Prevention Coalition
Information for this story was also provided by American Association for Suicide Prevention and APA.org.