STATE—Did you know that, in the United States, one person completes suicide every 16 minutes? Or that it’s estimated that more than 5 million people in the United States have been directly affected by a suicide?
CONTACT We Care, a volunteer-staffed 24-hour caring and crisis hotline based in Westfield, reminds everyone that suicide is preventable. The organization is marking National Suicide Prevention Week, Sept. 6 through Sept. 12, with an invitation to join the organization in soothing souls and saving lives by becoming a CONTACT Listener. The next volunteer training class begins Sept. 23.
“For more than 34 years CONTACT We Care has been offering the gift of listening to callers who are lonely, depressed, stressed and suicidal,” said David Owens, executive director. “During National Suicide Prevention Week, we remind everyone that most suicidal individuals do not want to die. They just want to end the pain they are experiencing. We know that suicidal crises tend to be brief. When suicidal behaviors are detected early, lives can be saved.”
Last year more than 800,000 Americans attempted suicide. Among 15 to 24 year-olds, suicide is the third leading cause of death. The elderly make up 12.4% of the population, but comprise 16% of all suicides.
“Suicide is usually preceded by depression and other mental illnesses,” said Wendi Rothstein, LCSW, clinical director at CONTACT. “Such conditions can be treated and the suicidal person can be assisted to reach a stage where their suicidal thoughts subside. Just as with other life threatening situations, the sooner we identify suicidal behavior, the better the chances are of prolonging life,” said Rothstein.
If you need to talk, call CONTACT We Care at 908-232-2880 or through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK. A trained volunteer is available to help.
For information about volunteering for CONTACT We Care, call 908-301-1899 or visit the organization’s website at www.contactwecare.org.
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