We need community involvement.
As it gets closer to starting our planning meetings for the Annual Dickinson County Suicide Prevention/Awareness Walk Event held each year at City Park, I can't help but meditate on coming up with alternative techniques to get our community more involved.
Our committee has spent numerous hours planning an awareness walk every year since 2009 by putting on fundraisers, sending out sponsorship forms to local businesses and participating in the 4th of July Parade.
My question here is why? Why doesn't our community come forward and get involved in supporting a second leading cause of death in teens and young adults?
Did you know that someone dies by suicide about every 13 minutes and in the world about one million people die by killing themselves?
Are you aware that 90 percent of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable and treatable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death? The powerful stigma on suicide really needs to end.
People who die by suicide are not crazy and they did not commit suicide either. Here is a definition of depression: a state or spell of low spirits, having or feeling desolation, disconsolateness, dispiritedness, downheartedness, dreariness, forlornness, gloom, glumness, heartsickness, hopelessness, joylessness, misery, mopey, mournfulness, oppression, pain, self-pity, sorrowfulness and unhappiness.
These are just a few words that describe someone with depression. Depression is a form of mental illness. Do you see I wrote the word illness? Cancer is an illness or disease.
There are about one million people a year diagnosed with cancer and there is many forms of cancers as there is many forms of mental illness. Heart disease is our leading cause of death. It is an illness. Suicide, heart disease and cancer are the 3 illnesses at the top leading causes of death in the United States.
We lose millions and millions of people to these illnesses. I have family members that were stricken by all three of the above illnesses.
After losing my brother to suicide in 2009 I have educated myself on the statistics, the warning signs, and how to make awareness so that we can saves lives. During this time of educating myself I have learned that mental illness is curable through therapy and medications.
People with mental illnesses and depression can get the help they need so they don't feel alone in this big world, or scared, full of pain, feeling hopeless, sad, anxiety, and dreary. When we the people reach out and encourage someone, or lift someone's spirits by just telling them you love them, or that you care, that may just be enough of encouragement a person needs to change their mind of taking their own life.
We often hear: Commit suicide. Let me share with you what I had learned about this. First of all let me ask you this question? Do people commit diabetes, cancer, heart disease or any other illnesses on themselves? Then how can some people commit mental illness or depression on themselves? Someone who dies by suicide is exactly how we should be expressing this. Someone dies by cancer, someone dies by heart disease, someone dies by suicide and someone dies because of some reason or another. They did not commit their death.
I am writing this letter because I am hoping to help you all understand that we need our community to come together and get yourself educated on how to read the warnings signs of someone who is contemplating on taking their own life, or on getting involved in making awareness to let people know there is help for those with depression/mental illness, that there is someone to talk to, and another way to help is to donate to this worthy cause so that we can prevent these suicides from happening. Please join us to help make awareness by calling 906-396-7819 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. To make a donation: outofthedarkness.org, event: Dickinson County.
American Foundation Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is the only non profit organization that allows us to keep 50 percent of what we raise to use it in our own community. When using the word community this does not mean just Dickinson County.
We include all surrounding counties also. Did you know in this winter we have lost four loved ones from our community to suicide?
In 2011 7 people died in a 4-month time frame from our community. That is almost two people a month. Please remember the winter months are the most difficult times for people.
Make an effort to uplift someone and be a good listening ear. We do not have to be professional counselors or therapists to just speak a few words to heighten someone's spirit. Let's bring people out of the darkness, get involved in helping us make awareness.
We have a hospital, many counselors, a mental health clinic, and doctors and I am sad to say that just a small handful are involved in helping us make awareness. I look at other communities that hold walks and they have doctors, hospitals, casinos, mental health clinics all involved. I beg you to please contact us and get involved in helping us whether it is to form a team to walk, sponsor this cause, make a donation or join us at the walk on Sept. 7, City Park, Iron Mountain.
Out of the Darkness