To The Herald-Whig:

Among the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic is the importance of “being there” for each other. In a situation where someone is thinking about suicide, being there can save a life.

National Suicide Prevention Week is Sept. 6-12. It is a time to understand that you do not have to be a mental health professional to make a difference to a person who has reached a point in their life where suicide seems like the only solution to their problems, such as financial loss, divorce, coping with illness in the family or work-related stress.

Make time to have a conversation with that person. Let the person know you care and are available to listen. Ask them directly if they are thinking about suicide. This can be difficult, but being direct creates opportunities for potentially lifesaving conversations. People often do not reach out for help for fear of being judged or misunderstood. Each of us has the power to change that by being there for those in our lives and listening without judgement while being aware of the warning signs that require professional help.

Learn about the warning signs and what to do on the Adams County Suicide Prevention Alliance web page, acsuicideprevention.org. People who are suicidal can and do recover.

Talking to someone who is depressed is the first step to show you care. Life is precious and taking a minute to reach out can save a life. Remember, help is just a phone call away. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 800-273-TALK (8255) or text HOME to 741741.

Chuck Johnson

Adams County Suicide Prevention Coalition

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