The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update


September 9, 2013

Viewpoint: Suicide prevention is everyone's business

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.

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