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Local suicide awareness stays active Suicide awareness gathering set for Thursday in Elkin reminds community the problem is continuous

The Tribune - 9/18/2017

Although National Suicide Prevention Week ended Sept. 16, it is important to continue the lessons and caring stirred by such events as the You Can’t Be Replaced Walk and the gathering at the Peace Pole on World Suicide Awareness Day earlier this month.

Continued concerned has caused another gathering to be scheduled from 8 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday during which community members can share support and a message of survival, as well as resources.

Located next to Galloway Episcopal Church at the corner of West Main and Terrace streets in Elkin, this peaceful spot is ideal for gatherings promoting peace and harmony, for which the pole was intended, according to congregation member Jane Motzinger.

Promoting internal peace and harmony is what suicide awareness events are about in order to decrease not only the number of completed suicides, but attempts as well.

The World Health Organization claims that there are about 800,000 completed suicides worldwide each year.

According to Centers for Disease Control, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, the third leading cause of death for people aged 10 to 14, and the second leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 24.

North Carolina saw a 62-percent increase in suicide between 2006 and 2014, according to North Carolina Health News.

Suicide is a problem that impacts everyone, which is why everyone can help.

Many of the signs start with the way people communicate, according to suicidepreventionlifeline.org, a national suicide prevention organization.

Talking about wanting to die, to kill themselves, feeling hopeless, having no reason to live, feeling trapped, in unbearable pain, or being a burden to others could indicate an inclination to thoughts of self-harm.

Other times it is behaviors that can indicate a problem. Changes in the use of alcohol or drugs, sleeping patterns, sociable activities, as well as heightened anxiety and reckless behavior, or extreme mood swings and being obvious about looking for a way to kill themselves can be signs of problems.

Although these potential indicators may not be significant alone, combined with other factors they may be cause for intersession.

Risk factors for suicide include lack of social support and sense of isolation, stigma associated with asking for help, lack of healthcare and cultural and religious beliefs can lead someone from considerations to actions.

This is just part of the reason the North Carolina Department of Public Safety trains its officers to recognize the possibility of suicide.

“Because of the nature of suicidal warning signs, and who is most likely to recognize and respond to them, the [Question, Persuade, and Refer Program] strongly concurs with the goal of one in four persons trained a basic gatekeeper role for suicide prevention in the United States,” states the N.C. Department of Public Safety website. “Gatekeepers include parents, friends, neighbors, teachers, ministers, doctors, nurses, office supervisors, squad leaders, foremen, police officers, advisors, caseworkers, firefighters, and many others who are strategically positioned to recognize and refer someone at risk of suicide.”

In addition to a variety of local professionals available through various programs, there are people available to help at a moment’s notice with some that deal with specific issues. Crisis text lines can be found by checking online as can real-time online helps and traditional telephone hotlines.

Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.


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