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Stepping out of the darkness

September 13, 2019 07:04 pm

Suicide rates are highest in teens, young adults and the elderly, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. White men over the age of 65 have the highest rate of suicide.

Some groups are at greater risk, including people who have lost a spouse, have attempted suicide before or have family members who did, have been abused, have a substance abuse problem or a painful, disabling or terminal illness. People who work in certain professions, like police officers, are also prone to suicide.

Although women are three times as likely to attempt suicide, men are far more likely to complete the act.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, according to the AFSP. In 2017, more than 47,000 Americans died by suicide. In the same year, 1.4 million Americans attempted suicide. In 2015, suicide and self-injury cost Americans $69 billion. These are the latest figures, according to the AFSP, which says the latest numbers have probably increased.

Hundreds of community members from Greene and Columbia counties are expected to gather Saturday to raise awareness about this serious socio-health crisis at the annual Columbia-Greene Out of the Darkness walk in Catskill.

The AFSP organizes Out of the Darkness walks in communities throughout the country to shed light on these alarming statistics and to educate people about what they can do to help.

In one way or another, in some form or another, all of our lives have been affected by mental illness, addiction and, perhaps, suicide. The pressure and uncertainty of modern life can take a toll on our well-being, both physical and mental. Chronic severe depression is on the rise, too, according to the AFSP. Walking 1.4 miles alone won’t stop suicide, but it can achieve several objectives, including prevention and awareness. But we believe the most important objective is giving people a reason to live, a reason for hope.

Thank you... it’s likely that life is the present (tense). Rev. Karen Monk (Methodist, 2 PhDs and 4 masters) did a lot of death counseling on the Mountaintop. She noticed that for some suicide is their only solution to lessen suffering, pain. Compassion is both the only solution and an effective basis for all decision making. We can be kinder to each other, it costs nothing to be kind.