You can stop suicide

All you have to do is listen.

Most people thinking of suicide want to stay alive. They are instead struggling to live with the pain they feel and are looking for help. A decision to live is far more likely when a person at risk can talk to someone who is comfortable with talking about suicide. The simple phrase “let’s talk,” wields power that must be learned and socially accepted.

Sadly, we are living in an age where people are growing further and further apart as we hide behind our phones and computers. We choose to build relationships through text and express our opinions through the anonymity of Facebook. Instead, we must return to our roots and regain our compassion and empathy.

An admission of thoughts of suicide is not an end but a new beginning. However, it is only a path to a healthy life if the admission is heard. People who are thinking of killing themselves often find ways to invite help from others, but these invitations are often missed. If it goes unnoticed, or ignored because of the taboo that shrouds suicide, we cannot move forward.

Suicide can be prevented. Anyone with thoughts of suicide should be taken seriously and we as a community must provide them with resources so that they may begin their journey toward a healthy life.

The Gig Harbor & Key Peninsula Suicide Prevention Coalition includes educators, parents, mental health professionals, social service providers, first responders and youth working together to erase the stigma related to suicide. Our goal is to make resources available to help depressed youth through a program that trains teens to recognize signs of distress within their peer group.

The coalition sponsors a program called SafeTALK, a half-day alertness workshop that prepares anyone over the age of 15 to become a suicide-alert helper. SafeTALK-trained youth become an important part of suicide-safer communities by learning to connect peers with life-saving intervention resources. These young people are working alongside adult intervention resources to identify people at risk and prevent death by suicide.

You can save a life by listening.

For more information, contact 253-753-3013 or ghkpsuicideprevention@nullgmail.com  More is available at: facebook.com/GigHarborKeyPeninsulaSuicidePreventionCoalition.

Anne Nesbit is a volunteer battalion chief and administrative assistant at Key Peninsula fire department.
Siren’s Song