Public Health: September is Suicide Prevention Month

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In the book “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” the main character, Harry, encounters a group of creatures known as Thestrals. These horse-like creatures can only be seen by those who have witnessed death.

While it may seem a rather random example, I often associate this scene with those who have lost someone to suicide.

As loss survivors turned suicide prevention advocates (myself included), we see missed opportunities our community and its residents can take to prevent these unnecessary deaths. We offer up our experiences, knowledge, and tools to ensure other families don’t lose loved ones as we have. Like Harry Potter and the Thestrals, we survivors see the paths to avoid tragedy that often go blissfully unrecognized until others are faced with a similar crisis.

All too often, it is stigma that blinds those yet untouched by a suicide death.

“That can’t happen to me or my family,” “People who think about suicide are weak, selfish, and attention-seeking,” “I don’t know anyone who would ever think about taking their life,” “We don’t have time. It’s not a priority right now.” “Not my son.”

The truth is suicide can affect anyone. Mental health challenges like depression, which is most associated

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