WESTFIELD — Every fifteen minutes, someone in our country dies by suicide. Most people live under the assumption that suicide will never happen to their loved one. Yet in the United States nearly 865,000 Americans attempt suicide each year.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15- to 24-years-olds. The elderly make up 12.6% of the population, but comprise 15.7% of all suicides. Each year, countless families face the reality that their loved one believed that it was better to die than continue living.
In New Jersey, CONTACT We Care, the Union County-based caring and crisis hotline works to prevent these tragedies. The award-winning non-profit, named Best Statewide Volunteer Organization by the New Jersey Governor’s Office of Volunteerism, trains volunteers to successfully intervene in potential suicides, soothing souls and saving lives. CONTACT will mark National Suicide Prevention Week Sept. 5 – 11.
“Suicide usually grows out of depression and one or more emotional traumas,” said David Owens, executive director of CONTACT We Care. “Isolation intensifies those feelings and the suicidal person is usually very isolated. For that isolated person in emotional pain, talking to someone is like aspirin. It helps relieve the pain. That’s what our CONTACT Listeners hope to do for the suicidally desperate: help relieve their pain by connecting with them and listening to their stories. Just as with other life threatening situations, the sooner we identify suicidal behavior, the better the chances are of prolonging life,” said Owens.
If you or a loved one need to talk, call CONTACT We Care at 1-908-232-2880 or 1-800-SUICIDE. A trained volunteer is available to help.
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