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Suicide awareness requires community support

You do not need to have a degree hanging on your wall to help somebody seriously contemplating suicide according to Kewaunee County Sheriff Matt Joski. That is the message he hopes more people realize as National Suicide Prevention Week comes to a close on Saturday.  Kewaunee County Sheriff Deputies go through crisis intervention training to spot potential warning signs in individuals when they approach calls. Community members have also seen a rise in the number of Question, Persuade, Refer, better known as QPR, training in recent years. Joski says something as simple as a hello and checking in on how somebody is doing can make a real difference.

Joski believes being proactive with helping people has saved lives despite suicide being the second-leading cause of death for those 15-24 years of age. 



While I try to keep the articles I write as timely as I can, every now and then important dates slip by me. This past week, September 8th through the 14th was recognized as National Suicide Prevention Week. This is a difficult, yet important issue to discuss as anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide can tell you that there are no clear indicators and too often those left behind struggle with a deep sense of guilt. 

        It is reported that every 12.8 minutes someone in our country dies by suicide, and that suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for those 15-24 years of age.

        For many, the act of reaching out for help is a struggle in itself. We as a culture attach a stigma to those struggling with depression or mental crisis. While we think nothing of seeking help for the pain caused by any number of physical ailments, the mere suggestion that someone seek professional help for the pain or suffering they are experiencing in their minds is taboo. We as a culture have been told to suppress these feelings or that whatever pain we are feeling, it will pass.

        Although everyone is different and their circumstances unique, there are general warning signs that may be visible. Some may exhibit a sense of hopelessness, recklessness or anger; other signs may be increased anxiety, withdrawal or purposelessness. In some cases individuals may attempt to harm themselves as a way to cry out for help, while in other cases there are no threats of action, just the tragic event itself.

        Throughout the years, I have had the unfortunate experience to notify families of those who have taken their own lives. The lesson I draw from these incidents is to always take the time to help the person next to you, and never be too busy to stop and visit. Not just to ask how they are doing in passing, but to actually stop and listen to their answer to that question. Very few of us can claim to have the educational back ground to analyze or treat these afflictions, but every one of us has the ability to listen and lend support to those who are struggling, and to let them know we care. Here in Kewaunee County we also have a growing number of community members who have taken the time to become certified in a suicide prevention education outreach known as QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer). For anyone is interested in a presentation at their place of business, organization, or school, please feel free to contact me and I can get you into contact with our local coordinator Joan Groessl.

        For more information on suicide prevention and the resources available visit:

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