An important conversation

Published 9:57 pm Thursday, October 3, 2019

The Suffolk Out of the Darkness Walk that happened last weekend at Bennett’s Creek Park is an important event that we hope continues to get community support.

The walk, hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, featured five laps around the park in a powerful atmosphere of community.

The money raised through these walks helps educate people in suicide prevention and awareness, fund research and advocacy and support survivors of suicide loss, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Email newsletter signup

But the most important part of the walk is that it allows survivors of suicide loss to connect with one another in a supportive and inclusive environment. While many family and friends who have lost someone to suicide may feel stigmatized or even ostracized, this is an event where they know they can find a shoulder to lean on and a listening ear.

If you can support this event in the future, we encourage you to do so, even if you don’t have a personal connection to the cause.

Perhaps your personal connection could be being there for someone else and helping them survive. Suicide is preventable, and it starts with all of us. If someone tells you they are not feeling mentally well, here are some ways you can respond, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

  • Let them know you’re listening
  • Show your support
  • Encourage them to keep talking — and really listen
  • Ask them about changes in their life and how they are coping
  • Be direct if you suspect they’re thinking about suicide — ask them if they’re thinking about it without passing judgment or guilt-tripping

If someone says they are indeed thinking of killing themselves, you should stay calm and ask questions like how often they are having these thoughts and what they do when it gets really bad. It can also be helpful to suggest they could benefit from speaking with a mental health professional, and helping them make that first contact.

If someone is in immediate danger, AFSP recommends you stay with them, help them remove lethal means and call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text TALK to 741741.

Prevention of suicide is always an important conversation.