More than most tragedies, suicide should be preventable. But thwarting it can prove terribly difficult as the causes and warning signs often go unrecognized. In fact, the rate of suicides has gone up recently, and though the increase in Georgia is not as great as the one nationwide, it is cause for alarm.
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. In a new GHN Commentary, the head of the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities looks at ways to reverse the alarming trend. While Commissioner Judy Fitzgerald discusses the state’s broad-based effort to address the surge in suicide, her emphasis is on what ordinary Georgians can do about it. Members of the public can play a big role in saving lives, she says, by showing the necessary understanding and guiding distressed people to the help they need.
“Knowing the risk factors and warning signs provides an opportunity for each of us to intervene,” Fitzgerald writes. But it’s important to know which actions to take, and which actions not to take, she points out.