Council Message by Vice Mayor Craig Margolis
The phone rings at an unexpected time of day. The response to the conversation is surprise and shock. With emotions ranging from despair and bewilderment to “I saw the signs, but I felt helpless and did not know what to do.”
Those are just some of the reactions to hearing a loved one succumbs to suicide, the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Our family’s response was surprise and shock, yet other family members had noticed a change in demeanor all along but did not know what to do.
Most suicides are preventable. The individual usually desperately wants to live; they are unable to see the light and find the strength to cope with their perceived problem.
While the one individual tragically lost his life, the effect was felt amongst the remaining members of his family. Our feelings of helplessness were palpable. To some members, it was self-blame; to others, it was confusion and an attempt to inventory what else they could have done. If you suspect a family member has suicidal feelings:
- Take those feelings and actions seriously. Determine whether the person has the means, such as a weapon or medication.
- Have a conversation, understanding the perceived desperation of the situation while directing the person to seek assistance
- Be willing to listen and assist the person in finding help
- Be willing to stay with the person until the crisis has passed
Suicidal thoughts can sometimes be linked to mental health issues. In 2019, the City administered the Community Health Assessment through WeTHRIVE! and found that mental health was one of the top three concerns of residents. These concerns have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and have affected us all. Mental health is essential to the overall health of our community. Therefore, the City is currently partnering with TriHealth, Sycamore Schools, Twin Lakes Senior Living, and Operation Give Back in concert with Hamilton County Public Health and the WeTHRIVE! Initiative to determine ways these organizations can work together to serve as a conduit to assist people with the help they need and creating a healthier Montgomery community, body, mind, and soul. Stay tuned for more information on this initiative in the future.
Warning signs of suicide can include:
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Withdrawing from activities
- Isolating from family and friends
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
- Giving away prized possessions
Visit American Foundation of Suicide Prevention for additional risk factors and warning signs at https://afsp.org/risk-factors-protective-factors-and-warning-signs.
Contact information for help:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
- Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741
- The TREVOR Project: 1-866-488-7386 https://www.thetrevorproject.org/