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New approach needed to help prevent suicide

There is no way to convey the horrors of suicide. The pain, guilt and grief for all involved is immeasurable and unending. The tragedy crosses all lines, ages and lifestyles, from police officers, sports figures, reality TV stars, the elderly and the middle aged to, most devastating, teens.

As a social worker, I have seen people on the edge of breaking, others who are thought to have a temporary depression and those where there were no obvious signs. I can’t imagine the unfounded guilt of loved ones. The bottom line is that they were not thinking clearly when they did the act. Most people don’t have it in them to think past “I’ve got to get out of this.” They don’t realize how it affects others. And especially with young people, they don’t have the life experience to know that whatever they are going through is temporary in the continuum of their life.

It is my belief that some assessment criteria needs to be reviewed to catch those who are falling through the cracks. It is a mistake for loved ones and clinicians to evaluate individuals based on “what they are doing.” They ultimately act because of how they are feeling. It is hard to know, because they may hide their feelings.

There is no cut-and-dry formula to avert this tragedy. But clinicians, especially, need to ask more questions, dig deeper and not make assumptions because things seem to be going well. Though the idea seems drastic and absurd to us, to those in that state of mind, it becomes a valid choice.

We need to do what we can to help those who are in emotional pain and stop the senseless loss of life. Please, always take suicide talk or threats seriously.

Laura Wright

Amherst