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Governor Dalrymple proclaims September suicide prevention month

Governor Jack Dalrymple signed a proclamation recognizing September as Suicide Prevention Month in North Dakota.

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Posted on 9/10/16

By Melissa Anderson

The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) encourages residents to show their support to family and friends displaying suicide risk factors and to those grieving a loss to suicide.

According to the NDDoH, North Dakota ranks 13th in the nation for its rate of suicide deaths.

In 2013, suicide was the tenth leading cause of death in the nation and the leading cause of death for North Dakotans ages 15 to 24.

In 2014, 133 North Dakotans died by suicide. Data shows that residents of rural states and communities are at greater risk of suicide – specifically states along the Rocky Mountain ridge like North Dakota.

White and Native American men are at the highest risk of completing suicide yet women are still three times more likely to attempt suicide than men.

“Suicide is a devastating and complex public health issue,” says Alison Traynor, Suicide Prevention Program Director with the North Dakota Department of Health, “Suicide is rarely the result of one event or factor but suicide is most commonly preceded by one or more warning sign(s). Citizens can help prevent by recognizing the signs and taking action.” Traynor mentions key warning signs to including:

•History of depression or mental health challenges

•Past attempts or comments expressing a desire to die

•Alcohol or drug abuse

•Family history of suicide or violence

•Physical illness or chronic pain issues

• Feelings of loneliness or of being a burden to others

Take action if you see the following:

•Any significant changes in behavior, reckless or withdrawn behavior

• Changes in mood or substance use

•Comments about suicide, self-harm or ambivalence about life

Effective Suicide Prevention Includes:

•Communicate and ask direct questions.

•Talk openly and

matter-of-factly about suicide.

•Be willing to listen. Allow expressions of feelings. Accept the feelings.

•Be nonjudgmental. Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or whether feelings are good or bad. Don’t lecture on the value of life.

•Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support.

•Don’t dare him or her to do it.

•Don’t act shocked. This will put distance between you.

•Don’t be sworn to secrecy. Seek support.

•Offer hope that alternatives are available, but do not offer glib reassurance.

•Take action. Remove lethal means, such as guns or stockpiled pills.

•Get help from someone specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention. Help is available by calling 1.800.273.TALK (8255)a free and confidential 24/7 suicide prevention lifeline.

For information about suicide prevention, local suicide prevention programs or to join the Suicide Prevention Coalition, contact Alison Traynor, North Dakota Department of Health, at 701.328.4580.

To engage your community, join the North Dakota Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Preventionin raisingfunds for scientific research, education and treatment programs as well as programs to support those who have lost loved ones to suicide.

“The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide,” shares Mary Weiler, Board Chair AFSP ND Chapter. “The ND Chapter’s goal is to reduce the number of suicide deaths in ND by 20% by 2025. Through collaboration and community support our goal will be attained.”

Join the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention this year in six “Out of the Darkness” Community Walks scheduled throughout ND to raise funds for suicide prevention and awareness. The events will be held in: Jamestown -September 12th; Minot -September 12th; Fargo/Moorhead –September 13th; Bismarck –September 18th; Valley City –October 10th and International Survivors of Suicide Loss day is November 21st.

For information about locations and starting times, contact Mary Weiler at afspnd@gmail.com or www.afsp.org.