Let’s talk about suicide

Suicide is part of our nation’s mental health crisis. The numbers are climbing and it’s impossible to have a conversation about mental health without also talking about suicide.

The work we do every day to combat suicide is sometimes overlooked.  People often fail to talk about suicide for fear talking about it will cause it. Unfortunately, this silence on suicide has only helped to increase the stigma surrounding it. It’s National Suicide Prevention Month, but we can’t wait until September every year to talk about suicide. We need to talk about it today and every day because each and every one of us help prevent suicide.

Kevin Hines jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge and survived. He wrote in his book that if one person had asked if he was ok, he wouldn’t have jumped. Nobody asked him. It’s a simple question, but nobody asked.

It’s time to talk about suicide. The only way we will reduce the stigma surrounding this absolutely preventable tragedy is to talk about it. We have to talk to each other, to our kids, to our grandparents, to our friends. We have to talk about it in a compassionate way and understand the reason behind it. It’s not a selfish act that happens because of a single event. It’s the act of someone who needs help. The only way we can help them is if we stop being afraid to reach out. Don’t be afraid to ask someone if they’re ok.

The providers that make up the East Central Mental Health Region are committed to reducing the number of suicides in Eastern Iowa, across the state, and across the country. Let’s all work together to talk about it and encourage others to ask, “Are you ok?”