EDITORIAL: Assisted suicide at your fingertips | Editorials


Whatever the circumstances, suicide is a tragedy.

A front page article in the Sunday edition of the Valdosta Daily Times reports on a group helping people who have lost a friend or relative of a loved one.

The Valdosta suicide survivors started several years ago and then broke off their meetings a few years ago. SOS Valdosta is back with the first gathering scheduled from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on July 5 at the Just Love Coffee Cafe, next to Publix on Gornto. More Information: Visit SOS Valdosta on Facebook, email [email protected] or call (229) 234-9939.

Tamara Hardesty, host, points out that SOS Valdosta is not a suicide prevention group. It is for people who go through the grief of losing a family member or friend to suicide.

Hardesty notes that preventing suicide and dealing with the aftermath of suicide are two very different things.

For people seeking help for themselves or for loved ones struggling with thoughts of suicide, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline indicates that there are many risk factors for suicide, including:

– Mental disorders, including mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and certain personality disorders.

– Disorders related to the consumption of alcohol and other substances.

– Despair.

– Impulsive and / or aggressive tendencies.

– History of trauma or abuse.

– Major physical illnesses.

– Previous suicide attempt (s).

– Family history of suicide.

– Employment or financial loss.

– Loss of relationship (s).

– Easy access to lethal means.

– Local suicide clusters.

– Lack of social support and feeling of isolation.

– The stigma associated with asking for help.

– Lack of health care, especially mental health and drug addiction treatment.

– Cultural and religious beliefs, such as the belief that suicide is a noble resolution of a personal dilemma.

– Exposure to other people who have died by suicide (in real life or via the media and the Internet).

So, the NSPL says that everyone should be aware of certain warning signs that may indicate someone is at or near the point of crisis. These warning signs include:

– Talk about wanting to die or committing suicide.

– Looking for a way to kill yourself, like searching online or buying a gun.

– Talk about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.

– Talk about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.

– Talk about being a burden on others.

– Increase the consumption of alcohol or drugs.

– Acting anxious or agitated; behave recklessly.

– Sleeping too little or too much.

– Withdraw or isolate yourself.

– Show rage or talk about revenge.

– Extreme mood swings.

State officials are warning people who show signs of suicide, or identify signs of suicide in others, to call the Georgia Crisis and Access Line, 1-800-715-4225, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls are free and confidential. Otherwise, visit www.mygcal.com help. The national lifeline for suicide prevention is (800) 273-8255.

We urge people to call for help if they, or someone they love or even know, appears to be at risk.

We also urge those who have lost loved ones to suicide to turn to SOS Valdosta.

Help is available.


About Rhonda Lee

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