Aroostook Community Matters - World Suicide Prevention Day

Published: Sep. 10, 2020 at 10:37 AM EDT
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If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support -- please reach out to one of the following, 24/7 crisis services and hotlines --

Maine Crisis Line: 1-(888)-568-1112

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-(800)-273-TALK

Warm Line (Peer Support Specialists): 1-(866)-771-9276

Front Line Workers Warm Line: 1-(866)-367-4440

NAMI Maine Teen Text line (Youth ages 14-20, available daily 12pm-10pm): (207)-515-8398

Ferris: “The idea of suicide is very scary, literally we’re talking life and death. But it’s actually a very simple question to ask. And so, the solution is actually very simple -- just ask the question. Take five minutes -- you know we all have five minutes, to watch a video or look up some material about getting educated and how do we ask.”

Robert: September 10th is designated as World Suicide Prevention Day, part of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. It’s a critical time to raise awareness, educate yourself and others about the causes of suicide, show compassion and care for those who are in distress within our own community, and have an open discussion questioning the stigma often associated with issues surrounding mental and behavioral health concerns. Preventing suicide requires the efforts of each and every one of us, and organizations like AMHC encourage everyone to learn the signs of suicide and not be afraid to ask for help.

Ferris: “Death by suicide is preventable and so it’s part of our initiative and part of our mission. We really believe that one suicide is too many.”

Wright: “Around the world the data tells us that every 40 seconds someone takes their life. So around the world that’s almost 800,000 people a year who die from suicide. For here in Maine, suicide is the ninth leading cause of death in the state of Maine. And it’s the second leading cause of death for Maine people age 15-34. So it has a huge impact in our communities. It has a huge impact within family structure -- and a huge impact worldwide.”

Robert: People often have the tendency to think that suicide only stems from mental illness. But a number of other influences including genetic, social, and cultural factors contribute to the decision for someone to take their own life. Recognizing the warning signs and knowing what to do next, is key.

Ferris: “Things that in general increase risk of suicide are: isolation; lack of connection to other people; a loss of a sense of control about your life and kind of the world around you; reduced sense of purpose. And then now we layer that with COVID. And now we’re looking at a really increased risk for almost everybody. And so, I think what we really want people to hear is -- We are still here. We are still here to help.”

Wright: “AMHC this year has chosen to partner with the ‘Take 5 to Save Lives’ Initiative. First step of the ‘Take 5...’ campaign is to learn the signs -- a negative view of themselves; a sense of hopelessness or no hope for the future; feelings of isolation or disconnectedness. And then knowing exactly what to say and do if they say, ‘Yes, I am thinking about hurting myself.’ Or, ‘I am feeling like I want to take my life.’ It is important for you to know as the person receiving that message, okay -- what are my next steps? who can I reach out to to help me? how do I make sure that this person is safe?”

Robert: There are a number of available resources through AMHC’s Emergency Services Program and Crisis Response Support -- including the 24/7 Maine Crisis Hotline (1-888-568-1112) and nationally, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK). More than anything, it’s important to know that the care and support needed is always there, and you are always loved and matter.

Wright: “As it says, STAY, you are loved, strong, capable, and valid. So we really want to spread that message to people -- that we really want you to stay.”

Ferris: “You matter, everyone matters! And I promise you, if you are thinking that no one around you would miss you -- you are very wrong. Very wrong. And so, you know sometimes when we get in those very dark moments, it’s easy to lose sight of that and to think that nobody would care. But that is absolutely not true. So the solution is simple, the people around you -- just ask, just reach out.”

Robert Grimm, News Source 8.


--Michelle Ferris, LCSW, Emergency Services Program Director | AMHC;

--Sarah Wright, MHRT-CSP, Emergency Services Supervisor | AMHC]

Aired: September 10, 2020

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