Thursday, January 13, 2011

Step in the right direction?

I liked this little bit in the ADN I just read, as it is part of, what I hope, are some moves in the right direction.

I don't know if I even need to repeat the dismal statistics regarding Alaska Native people and suicide. The news has been out there about the bad numbers for years. Suffice it to say, there are far, far too many Alaska Native people dying each year in a 100% preventable way.

I don't know that anyone has really taken the reigns on this yet, as far as the mass organization it will take to coordinate the communities, people and organizations needed to make a real impact, but starting with talking to people who have actually been there is a big step I think has been overlooked.

The taboo of suicide is such that the people who have experienced the feelings, experienced the attempts, are rarely the people asked to be involved in helping other people like them. We usually hear from family members who have experienced the fallout - maybe a little scared to talk to people who will admit to actually attempting suicide. What do we say to them? What do we do if they still feel that way? Who do I call?

We seem to be leaving the help for this situation up to "the professionals." While there are great resources to use, it's not "somebody else's job" to talk to people who are feeling depressed, feeling suicidal. There are great resources to use and point to, but, while definitely point out metal health and hotline resources at some, or many points - I gaurantee the help they might feel if they use those resources is nothing to the help you can give them by stopping and listening. You don't have to counsel, you don't have to know what to say to them.

I'll get off the soapbox, but I encourage everyone to think about what you'd do if presented with a suicidal loved one, and to read up on the signs someone may be suicidal.

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