Suicide always tragic

No matter how you look at it, suicide is a tragedy.

It was alarming this week when we were reminded that suicide is the second leading cause of death from people between the ages of 10 and 34.

Georgia Senators Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss are among national leaders who are raising awareness about the national epedemic among young people.

Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) joined Isakson (R-GA) in a resolution to promote Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, recognized each year in September. The resolution was cosponsored by Chambliss (R-GA) and Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI), John Boozman (R-AR), Mark Begich (D-AK) and Jon Tester (D-MT).

In announcing the resolution Isakson said, “I am honored to join Sen. Donnelly in introducing this resolution in observance of Suicide Awareness Month to raise awareness for this important issue and to recognize that we should do all that we can to support individuals who are at risk. As a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I have taken a particular interest in working to reverse the alarming figure that 22 veterans commit suicide each day in our country. It is imperative that our service members receive the help they need when they need it the most.”

Donnelly added, “This month is an opportunity for us to recognize and discuss suicide prevention. I introduced this resolution because we need to be vigilant in ensuring that those at risk for suicide are receiving the help they need, and are comfortable asking for it. We can work to combat suicide by educating ourselves on warning signs and risk factors and spreading the word about confidential and free resources available.”

While suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, we have learned it is the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34.

It has been estimated that close to six million Americans have lost a loved one to suicide.

According to a news release issued this week, service members and veterans military veterans are very susceptible. In 2012 alone, approximately 349 members of the United States Military (active duty, Guard and Reserve) committed suicide, which is more than the total number of service members who died in combat operations. This number does not include the more than 6,000 veterans who committed suicide in 2012.

Mental health care professionals say anyone contemplating suicide should eek help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional or by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Substance and Mental Health Services Administration has issued to following list of red flags that should prompt the seeking of intervention for yourself or a loved one:

• Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself;

• Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means;

• Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person;

• Feeling hopeless;

• Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge;

• Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities seemingly without thinking;

• Feeling trapped like there’s no way out;

• Increasing alcohol or drug use;

• Withdrawing from friends, family, and society;

• Feeling anxious, agitated, or unable to sleep or sleeping all the time;

• Experiencing dramatic mood changes;

• Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life.

The Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached for free, confidential support at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

The Military and Veterans Crisis Line can be reached for free, confidential support at 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1.

We encourage all our readers to take any warning signs seriously.

Life is precious.

— Editor Jim Zachary