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Letter: Changing the national narrative around suicide

Editor, Gazette-Journal:

September marks Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. This is an opportunity for all of us—families, teachers, clinicians, nurses, clergy and religious leaders, elected officials, police officers, firefighters, policymakers, employers, etc.—to play a vital role in awareness and prevention.

Studies show that 50 percent of Americans have identified barriers that stop them from trying to help someone at risk. Some fear that they would say or do something to make things worse rather than better. The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention and its many national and local community resource partner organizations suggest taking these five steps:

Ask. Asking the question “Are you thinking about suicide?” communicates that you are open to speaking about suicide in a non-judgmental way. Asking in this direct, unbiased manner can open the door for effective dialogue about their emotional pain. Other questions to ask include “How do y...

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