TUSCALOOSA RESIDENTS WORK TO STOP RISING SUICIDE RATES

Story by WVUA 23’s Grace Campbell.

The World Health Organization estimated that 834 Alabama residents died by suicide in 2017.

Saturday afternoon, the Kristen Emerson Youth Foundation partnered with the Alabama Suicide Prevention and Resource Coalition (A.S.P.R.C.) to host a QPR suicide prevention training.

QPR suicide prevention training teaches people to recognize the warning signs of suicide and how to question, persuade and refer someone to get help.

“Most of us, kind of dismiss being human, and so many of us struggle with so many things that we just want to talk about, but nobody will talk to us about them,” attendee Xavier Bryant said. “Programs like this give people enough zeal to go out and do the things that a lot of people are afraid to do.”

The A.S.P.R.C. said it doesn’t matter how old someone is, everyone is in the age of risk of dying by suicide and it is important to teach children to identify their emotions.

“When we allow children to talk about their feelings and responses to these feelings and we keep that conversation line open, we educate them about how to deal with this in a way that’s not harmful,” A.S.P.R.C. volunteer Cheryl Dodson said.

Suicide prevention is everyone’s business and the A.S.P.R.C. wants to remind people that it’s not one thing that causes someone to attempt suicide. It is numerous things piled on top of one another, and the more people talk about their emotions and problems, the more suicide can be prevented.

“Suicide is something that is very taboo in our society to talk about, and every time we talk about this, we reduce the stigma and we’re able to reach people and that makes a difference,” Dodson said.

If you or someone you know has suicidal thoughts, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255.

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