The Herald Bulletin

September 9, 2013

Viewpoint: Suicide prevention is everyone's business

By Susie Maier Aspire Indiana
The Herald Bulletin

---- — If you fell and broke your arm, you would go to a hospital without thinking twice about it and you certainly wouldn’t worry about what others thought about you nor would you have to hide in your home until it healed. You wouldn’t worry about your job being taken away or be concerned that people think you are incompetent just because you have a broken bone.

It’s unlikely that people would whisper about you behind your back because you have a broken arm or say that you were crazy because you received treatment for your injury. I doubt that anyone would say to you to “just suck it up” and “deal with it” because you are in unbearable pain.

Unfortunately, when it comes to a person who is thinking about suicide, we frequently see those behaviors from people who believe that depression, anxiety and trauma are conditions to simply, “get over”.

In October 2012, I received an email that shocked me more than any other I’ve received in my career. What I saw was a report about the suicide rate in east central Indiana and Madison County in particular. The Center for Disease Control’s 2010 report revealed that Madison County has the highest suicide rate in east central Indiana. Of the 92 people we know we lost to suicide that year, 28 were from our county. Twenty-eight is only the number of suicides that we know about as reported by the coroner. That total doesn’t take into account the number of deaths by so-called “accident.”

The suicide rate in east central Indiana has been higher than the state and national rates for several years and now we know that 30 percent of the suicides that occurred in east central Indiana in 2010 were from Madison County. I couldn’t believe what I was reading at first but after the initial shock wore off I began to contact several colleagues in Madison County to see what we could do as a group of concerned citizens to prevent suicide in our community. You don’t have to work in the health field to help someone who is thinking about suicide.

The Madison County Suicide Prevention Coalition has developed a plan for preventing suicide and we invite you to join us. Our hope is to become trainers for the community at large and educate everyone in Madison County about how to prevent suicide

The week of Sept. 8 through 14 is National Suicide Prevention Week. As part of our coalition, we want to invite you to come to Citizens Plaza at noon on Tuesday, Sept. 10, and stand with us to raise awareness that suicide is preventable. We want to provide you with education and information about how to prevent suicide and give you some ideas about how to talk with someone who is thinking about killing themselves.

If you think you need help, please call someone. Call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK or go to http://www.suicidehotlines.com/indiana to see all the hotline numbers that are available 24/7. Raising awareness in our community is just the first step. We want to make Madison County a suicide-free community. Anyone can be a part of this campaign to raise awareness and prevent suicide. We welcome you to join us.

Susie Maier, LCSW, LCAC, BCD, is clinical director of Outpatient Services in Madison County for Aspire Indiana.