Coming Together to Prevent Suicide

October 9, 2018
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Contributed by Colleen Verriest, The Community YMCA |

Every 12.3 minutes one person dies by suicide in the United States, resulting in nearly 45,000 deaths each year in our country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death among U.S adults and the second leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24.

Here in New Jersey, suicide rates decreased by 13 percent in 2016, however suicide is still the third leading cause of death among Garden State teens (after unintentional injury and homicide).

Suicide takes life without regard to age, income, education, social standing, race or gender.

That is why on Sept. 26, The Community YMCA joined forces with several Monmouth County agencies to host a public information and education forum entitled “Help Save a Life.”

It took place at the Eastern Branch of Monmouth County Library in Shrewsbury. Participating organizations were: RWJBH Institute for Prevention and Recovery, the Mental Health Association of Monmouth County, the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide and the Monmouth County Traumatic Loss Coalition, coordinated by the Y.

The event coincided with National Suicide Prevention Month, an annual initiative to raise awareness of the tragedy of suicide. By coming together to raise awareness and educate people about the signs that can indicate someone is having suicidal thoughts or is in danger for suicide, these local organizations are helping to prevent suicide from happening.

The forum included a host of discussions and presentations on signs to look for, where to get help and how to reach out.

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Our collective hope is that by sharing information about suicide with our community we can be a resource to those in need – not just during National Suicide Prevention Month, but all year-round.

We urge individuals who are having suicidal thoughts to contact a suicide hotline, speak to a friend or family member or seek professional therapy. If someone is in crisis, get help immediately by calling 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

The subject of suicide is not something we can ignore. Anyone interested in learning more about risk factors or warning signs for suicide can reach out to The Community YMCA Counseling and Social Services team at 732-544-4544.
Many thanks to our partnering organizations and the Monmouth County Library for collaborating to help prevent suicide in our community.

Colleen Verriest, LCSW
Vice President, Counseling and Social Services
The Community YMCA

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