Don't argue — offer help

Twenty-two people ranging in age from 17 to 89 decided to end their lives and die by suicide last year in Elkhart County. They left a void in our community and their families. The surviving families not only are suffering the trauma of losing a loved one, they are also at a higher risk for suicide and emotional issues.

Death by suicide impacts all ages, genders, social, economic, and ethnic backgrounds. Some signs are feeling helpless; feeling as if you can’t stop the pain; not able to sleep, eat or work; feeling as if you can’t make the sadness go away; feeling out of control; no longer enjoying things you used to like to do; lost interest in your appearance; preoccupation with death and dying; withdrawal from friends, family and/or social activities; no longer able to see yourself as a worthwhile person; and increasing use of drugs or alcohol.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, seek professional help immediately. If you have observed these symptoms in someone, approach the person about what you are seeing, and ask them directly if they are thinking about suicide. Be ready to listen and avoid the urge to downplay or solve their problems. Most suicidal people feel relieved to have someone ask directly about suicide because it indicates that you care and that you are open to discussing the issue, which most of them have never done. Don’t attempt to argue someone out of suicide. Do not leave the person alone. Again, seek professional help by going to the nearest emergency room or treatment facility.

— Written by coalition member Laura Rasch

Other Thoughts

"Teen suicide: More schools bring issue out of the shadows," John Keilman, Chicago Tribune, Feb. 21, 2011

"The link between suicide and depression," Suicide Awareness Voices of Education FAQ, 2003-12

"Elder suicide: A needless tragedy," Barbara Worthington, Aging Well, 2012