Recognizing and treating depression are major steps toward preventing suicides, according to the Indiana/Ohio director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Lisa Brattain. The latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show suicide rates have continued to trend upward since 1999.
This is National Suicide Prevention Week, and Brattain said depression, like other illnesses, can and should be treated.
“An illness is an illness and depression is treatable and suicide is preventable,” she declared. “We just need to be armed with the right tools to do that.”
Brattain, who lost her son Kurt to suicide when he was 19 and a freshman in college, said an educational DVD set is available free to schools from her organization, called “More than Sad.” She said peers often notice signs of potential suicide before family members do, and they need to know what to do. More information is available at MoreThanSad.org.
Brattain said such behavior as withdrawing from friends or trying to give away prized possessions should be cause for alarm.
That means “knowing that those kinds of things, although they may be subtle, you know, for most people, could be pretty significant warning signs.”
To raise awareness each fall, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention holds “Out of the Darkness” walks. Brattain said there are 10 such walks scheduled in Indiana, beginning in Indianapolis on September 14.
“That’s our first one, and then our last one is in Terre Haute on November 2. So we have them all through September and October in Indiana, and you can certainly find a walk close to you or anyone at OutoftheDarkness.org.”
For 24/7 crisis counseling, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-8255.
More information is at 1.usa.gov/171jvvo.