Editorial: Reach out

September is suicide prevention awareness month. There are many causes and reasons for someone to take their own life.
Living in Wilton at times feels like living in a bubble, but we are not immune to this tragic situation. A look at the police logs over the past six months, from March through August, shows officers responded to three suicide attempts. During that time, officers also responded to 21 incidents classified as “crisis intervention.” These are just the ones that were reported.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there were 41,149 suicides in 2013 in the U.S., a rate of 12.6 per 100,000. Calculated for Wilton, that would be about two people per year. An estimated 9.3 million adults — 3.9% of the adult population — reported having suicidal thoughts. In Wilton, 3.9% of adults is nearly 500 people.
People contemplating suicide are in pain and they just want the pain to end. Talking about it won’t make them any more likely to follow through, in fact it may help more than you know.
Truth is, we don’t communicate person to person as much as past generations. We text, we check Facebook. It’s not the same. An emoticon does not replace conversing with someone face to face, placing a hand on a shoulder or arm.
Suicide prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs and taking them seriously. Major warning signs include someone talking about killing or harming themselves, talking or writing a lot about death or dying, seeking out things that could be used in a suicide attempt such as weapons and drugs. Other signs include an indication of hopelessness, dramatic mood swings, sudden personality changes, loss of interest in day-to-day activities.
If something feels “off” in someone you love — don’t put off making time to talk or even act. Wilton Social Services offers short-term counseling. If things are really serious with an adult, the office recommends calling the Franklin S. Dubois Center at 203-358-8500 or 1-800-586-9903. Visit online at http://bit.ly/2vMk41O.
For those under 18, the Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Service can help: http://bit.ly/2gMqN57.
In a real emergency, call 911. The Wilton Police Department is one of 111 law enforcement agencies in Connecticut with officers who have received special training in crisis intervention. Among the crises they are trained to handle is suicide assessment and prevention.
This Sunday, Sept. 10, is World Suicide Prevention Day. A simple act may make an immeasurable difference.