LETTER: Suicide prevention can be as simple as asking a question

“Are you okay?” It’s a simple question that can help save a person’s life if you take the time to listen and refer them to help if it’s needed.

Suicide happens when stressful life events overload the coping abilities of someone suffering a mental illness. The most common mental illness that leads to suicide is depression. For the many people that suffer with depression, the chronic illness can be treated with medications and having the courage to talk with others that can help. There is a stigma with people that deal with mental illness that often makes them feel alone. Talking about mental illness and talking about suicide can help shatter the darkness that surrounds those that are going through this part of their life. It’s necessary to talk about mental illness because one person every 5 hours dies by suicide in NY State. Men in the US die by suicide 3.5 times more often than women. Also in the US, white males accounted for 7 out of 10 suicides in 2015. True strength is showing your weakness and having the courage to stand with others against the things that harm us. Encouraging the ones we love to embark on getting biological and psychological treatments can help address the underlying health issues that put people at risk for suicide and ultimately decrease deaths by suicide.

One organization that has taken on the mission to decrease the suicide rate in Schuyler County is S.A.F.E, which stands for Suicide Awareness For Everyone. They have been working on connecting people to prevention, intervention and recovery by providing education, support and advocacy. SAFE is an advocate for the more positive solutions to dealing with life’s struggles.

 For more about SAFE contact:

Chris Tennant, LMSW and Liz Sommers, LCSW S.A.F.E Coalition Co-chairpersons

106 South Perry St, Watkins Glen NY 14891,  607-535-8282

Warning Signs of Suicide

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Talking about killing themselves
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves such as searching online for materials or means
  • Acting anxious, agitated or recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or isolating from family, friends and activities
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings such as depression, loss of interest, rage, irritability, humiliation and anxiety.

The more of these signs a person shows, the greater the risk. Warning signs are associated with suicide but may not be what causes a suicide.



If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide:

  • Do not leave the person alone
  • Remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt
  • Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional

Elizabeth Watson

S.A.F.E Member

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