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Reflections for National Suicide Prevention Week

September 10th through the 16th has been set aside 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.


As I feel this is such an important topic, I put myself through the certification to become a Suicide Prevention Instructor through the QPR Institute. I have conducted many classes over the years, and would be more than willing to present to any group or organization. Feel free to contact me at: (920)255-1100.


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


We have heard a great deal about the need for “Wellness” but we should not forget that true wellness has four basic components; Physical, Mental, Social and Spiritual. Each of these supports the other and to be truly strong in one requires strength in the other two. Let’s all work together to sustain each other’s wellness above and beyond just the physical realm. In attending to our wellness, we also build up our own resiliency. These resiliency skills are the very foundation that we draw upon in times of adversity.


This year, we have a great opportunity to build up or resiliency skills as Myself, along with Jessica Depas from our very own Kewaunee County Health Department will be conducting weekly Wellness sessions. These sessions will be a combination of Physical movements designed to improve not only strength but also your flexibility, as well as resiliency lessons to help adjust our response to stress and adversity. For additional information and to enroll, please contact the Public Health Department at (920)388-7160.

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