The S Word

(New Philadelphia, Ohio) – “The word suicide brings conversations to a halt and evokes primal fears of the darkest of all human experiences,” and that will be the focus of an upcoming local event.

On Tuesday, October 23rd the public is invited to a free event that will introduce the film, ‘The S Word,’ by Director Lisa Klein at 6:30 p.m. Candy Bond with New Life Counseling in Dover explains this is an extremely important event to offer to the community because suicide rates are increasing at an alarming rate nationally, as well as locally. Suicide is currently the second leading cause of death in those from age 8 to 23 and increasing across other age groups.

In the U.S. alone, approximately 44,000 people die each year from suicide. Someone dies from suicide ever 13 minutes in the U.S. and for every suicide completed approximately 25 others attempt. Additionally, statistics published in a 2013 article in Psychology Today suggests one death by suicide affects at least six other individuals close to that person. “This effect could possibly trickle down to countless others connected to those original six,” notes Bond. “When that happens the community as a whole is affected. When we break the stigma attached to suicide and can talk about it openly and honestly people tend to feel safer asking for help.” She also notes suicide rates are much higher in rural counties than in suburban or urban counties, making the topic even more relevant for the Tuscarawas Valley.

“Speaking the word SUICIDE is not necessarily the problem,” adds Bond. ‘It is the silence that so often follows.” She explains the film puts a human face on the often feared and misunderstood topic. “We need to find ways to stop this epidemic and the best way is to talk about it. Openly and honestly. Get the perspective of those who have attempted. Get the perspective of the family, friends and loved ones who have been left behind.” The event will focus on knowing the warning signs and how to respond when you notice them, understanding risk factors and recognizing ‘the calm before the storm.’ “Which is when a person who has been depressed for some time does a complete 180 degree turn around. This often occurs because they have made the decision and devised a plan to kill themselves so now they are experiencing a long sought-after peace and are trying to make their last moments meaningful for their loved ones,” adds Bond.

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Additionally, Bond explains there are several misconceptions about suicide that will be discussed during the event, but she stresses the point that love has nothing to do with it. “When someone is at the point of taking their own life – they can’t see the forest for the trees. They aren’t thinking about their loved ones – or those they are leaving behind. They don’t realize at that moment that things can and will get better. They just want to escape the pain they are feeling.”

And one of the most common misconceptions, according to Bond, is that talking about suicide will cause someone to kill themselves. “In fact, asking someone, ‘are you thinking about killing yourself?’ increases the likelihood that they will open up and speak honestly if they are considering suicide.” However, there is a right and a wrong way to ask the question notes Bond. “Asking, ‘You’re not thinking of killing yourself, are you?’ is not an acceptable way to ask. Asking in this manner increases the odds that they will just tell you what they think you want to hear.”

On Tuesday, October 23rd, the day of the event, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. there will be a resource fair followed by the film, which will run until roughly 8:00 p.m. and then a discussion will begin. Lisa Klein along with Todd Little of NAMI of Tuscarawas and Carroll Counties, Dr. Ryan Dunn of New Life Counseling, Kristi Wilkin of Survivors of Suicide Loss Support Group and Lindsey Tidrick a school guidance counselor representing the Tuscarawas Area Counselors Association will be on hand to answer questions and offer feedback. The event will conclude by 8:45 p.m.

Bond adds she hopes attendees will take away the desire to cultivate empathy towards those that have attempted suicide and those who have lost a loved one to suicide through first-person storytelling. “Provide the community with resources needed in the prevention of suicide, understand the impact suicide has on a national level, learn about steps others have taken to advocate for those at risk of suicide, help them understand there is hope and there is help.” Statistics show that if you get professional help in the first few weeks of feeling hopeless that you can work through your problems.

The the Survivor of Suicide Loss Group of Tuscarawas and Carroll Counties has been keeping track of the suicides in Tuscarawas County. Over the last 18 months, there have been 50 recorded suicides. “And that doesn’t include those that may have been suicides, but weren’t ruled as such – ie: drug overdoses etc.,” says Bond.

According to a report from the Ohio Department of Health, there were 14.5 deaths by suicide per every 100,000 people of Tuscarawas County in 2012.

This event is sponsored by the Survivors of Suicide Support Group of Tuscarawas and Carroll Counties, ECOESC, The ADAMHS Board of Tuscarawas and Carroll Counties, New Life Counseling, ACE, Inc, Commquest, Kent State University at Tuscarawas, Chrysalis Counseling, Personal & Family Counseling, Southeast, Community Mental Health, Union Hospital Behavioral Health, and the Tuscarawas Area Counseling Association.

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