This week I was presented the very difficult decision as a news editor of either ignoring a sad incident in our community or reporting on it at the risk of insulting readers. I took the bold leap of reporting on it because, as you will read in Larry Werner’s column on this page, those left to ponder a loved one’s suicide would rather keep society talking about the problem as opposed to it lingering in our subconscious without any attention, thought or preventative action.
There are resources in our area to help those suffering with suicidal thoughts. There are also warning signs we can look out for while caring for friends and family. When a loved one’s feelings become so desperate that your instinct wonders about their safety, that might be a good time to tell the person about resources and places of help, safety and comfort.
Suicidal warnings signs include:
• Threatening to or talking about wanting to die
• Increased apathy, hopelessness
• Poor eating and sleeping habits
• Acquiring a gun or stockpiling pills
• Substance abuse
• Putting personal affairs in order
• Withdrawal from friends, family and activities usually enjoyed.
According to the La Crosse Area Suicide Prevention Initiative, the best thing to do if you or someone you know is facing very hard times is to seek help.
• Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) (National Suicide Prevention Hotline)
• See a doctor or therapist via a clinic, walk-in or emergency room
• Call 911 or 211.
Although few of us have the expertise, confidence or know-how to walk a friend through their darkest moments, we all have the capacity to accept that suicide exists and there are ways to arm each other with tools for coping and surviving.
You can contact Emily Bialkowski at firstname.lastname@example.org