The Times West Virginian


May 3, 2013

Awareness and education key in the effort to prevent suicide

There are so many emotions a person can go through during the course of a day.

Happiness. Frustration. Sadness. Relief.

But for many people, those feelings are intensified by stress, mental disorders, medication, addictions or depression. And while many walk around with smiles on their faces to hide their internal strife, the long hours alone are more than they can bear. For those without loved ones, a support system or who are incapable of communicating their despair, their path may lead to self-destructive behavior or even taking their own life.

Those of us left behind rarely understand it. We talk in terms of people “having so much to live for” or that someone “seemed so happy” following a suicide. Yet none of us had to live a moment in their minds, when moving forward with life for one more day or one more hour was unbearable.

We don’t understand it. And we’re left behind to deal with it, to accept it, to move forward without loved ones in our lives.

In the past 10 years, the suicide rate for middle-aged Americans sharply rose 28 percent, leaving even scientists to wonder what would make someone want to end his own life. A study released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that during that time period, the suicide rate for white men and women in that age group rose by 40 percent. That age group accounts for 57 percent of the suicides. The overall national suicide rate climbed from 12 suicides per 100,000 people in 1999 to 14 per 100,000 in 2010 — a 15 percent increase.

A leading theory for such a sharp rise in suicides for those ages 35 to 64 is the impact of the recession on individuals who may not have had an extended family or church group or other means of emotional support.

Another theory is that baby boomers have always had a higher rate of suicides, and that holds true, too, for the 1999 to 2010 timeframe.

But whatever the cause, within that decade, suicide rose up the ranks as the fourth leading cause of death among middle-age Americans, only behind cancer, heart disease and accidents. And while efforts for suicide prevention have been concentrated on teens and seniors in the past, it’s clear that something must be done for those in the middle.

We know of one local effort to provide support for families who have lost loved ones to suicide as well as getting the message out for those who need help. Messages for Hope, a support group started by a couple who lost their daughter to suicide in 2008, has teamed up with the recently founded Project SLB Foundation for a suicide prevention and awareness walk in Fairmont. The Walk for Suicide Prevention in Fairmont will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 1, at Palatine Park.

To pre-register for the walk or to find out more about support groups in Fairmont, visit, or register the day of the walk at 10 a.m.

With the release of such alarming statistics, we encourage everyone who has been touched by the death of a friend or loved one by their own hand to join this cause. Awareness and education are key.

If just one soul who is tortured by hopelessness and despair can find a lifeline, then maybe we can stop this epidemic one person at a time. We need to learn the signs of depression, make sure that mental help is available and affordable, and reach out and let people know that life is worth living.

Text Only
  • Unsung heroes handling calls in emergencies are appreciated

    Thankfully, we live in a community where help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just by dialing three numbers — 9-1-1.
    During this week, which is recognized as National Public Safety Tele-Communicator’s Week nationwide, we need to remember that on the other end of that line are the men and women here in this county who are always there in case of accident, crimes, medical emergencies and any other catastrophic event.

    April 18, 2014

  • Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives

    A figure that we haven’t seen that much in recent years is the highway death toll for a given period.
    Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?
    The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.

    April 17, 2014

  • State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary

    Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
    For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
    Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.

    April 16, 2014

  • Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better

    When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
    So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.

    April 13, 2014

  • COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable

    That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
    But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
    Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!

    April 13, 2014

  • Decision to be an organ donor can save lives

    Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
    So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.

    April 11, 2014

  • Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community

    Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
    Marion County is full of volunteers.
    They read to our youth.
    They assist nonprofit agencies.
    They serve on boards and committees.
    And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.

    April 10, 2014

  • Proposed school calendar lives up to letter and spirit of law

    West Virginia state law requires that students be in a classroom for 180 days.

    April 9, 2014

  • Strong Fairmont General Hospital badly needed to serve our region

    Mere minutes often matter when it comes to emergency health care.
    That’s why we need a strong Fairmont General Hospital.
    When patients need the services of health-care professionals, having family and friends close at hand is often essential, and their presence may even lead to a better outcome.

    April 6, 2014

  • COLUMN: Fairmont General Hospital vital part of community

    There’s nothing better than holding a newborn baby. It gives you a little feeling that not only is everything right in the world, but this perfect little human represents hope of a future where things will be better than they are today.
    I had that blessed opportunity to hold that hopeful future in my arms last week when I visited my dear friend Jen and her newborn son Tristan at Fairmont General Hospital.

    April 6, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Politics
House Ads