Life is hard. Life is so hard. But, there are so many other ways to deal with pain and the unhappy feelings that we go through in the difficult times. Suicide though, which people may see as an easy way out, is never the answer and unfortunately as much as we wish it weren’t true, suicide in Douglas County is a very real thing. Increasing 27% since 2012, Douglas County has seen 56 cases of suicide in the past four years. It happens to be one of the most high ranked counties for suicide in the nation. Safetalk was an event put together by adults in Douglas County hoping to see a difference in younger people's choices in ending their lives. Safetalk has free suicide alertness trainings allowing anyone over the age of 15 to learn about suicide alertness skills, as well as learning the four basic steps to make a life saving connection. There are many ways that the community can raise awareness about suicide and mental health in order to lower the amount of suicides that have occurred in the past, and to prevent suicide in the future. Starting with the way we look at mental health, mental health affects many students within Douglas County. Many students have to juggle 8 hours of school work, then several hours of an extracurricular or a job, then go home and do more work and there is not simply enough time in the day for students to take care of themselves. This schedule makes it extremely hard for some students who deal with mental health issues. Mental Health is something everyone handles differently and something everyone looks at differently. We have to start with the problems. The problems consist of how many students are committing suicide, how we are trying to prevent these suicides, and how we are reacting to the suicides. Sadly, since we were a young age we’ve been taught to look for the signs of people who may be suicidal. Constantly sleeping, not eating, not sleeping, over eating, giving away prized possessions, etc. But all of those things could fit into a normal teenagers personality so how does one really sense when someone is suicidal? There is no way to tell and there is no way to assume they are. When you see someone in need, help them. Don’t sit by and do nothing, the community has the impact to help someone who feels suicidal. It’s the peers, friends, family, teachers, and many other people who can make the help out. It’s important the community knows how to help these individuals, and that is what safeTALK is used for. So, go find a training near you because you could help someone who really needs it. As well as making sure they have a support system they could go to for anything and make sure if they mention suicide you get professional help right away, this may include calling the suicide hotline in order to get help (1-800-273-8255). There are many things we can do as a community to prevent this tragic event, but we have to start with learning about it and how we can address it.

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