JANESVILLE ญญ- One tragedy is too many is one official's call to action this September in honor of Suicide Awareness Month.
Tony Farrell Sr. is the volunteer executive director of Rock County's Suicide Prevention Network and Safety Series, and this September he wants everyone to review the warning signs and to know what resources are available for residents thinking about suicide. In addition to September being an awareness month, National Suicide Prevention Week runs from Sunday to Saturday.
Though not everyone experiences the same signs or symptoms, those at risk may have threatened or communicated thoughts of suicide, have a plan in place, be experiencing increased substance abuse, be dealing with anxiety, have feelings of hopelessness or feeling trapped, be experiencing anger, recklessness or mood swings or may be giving away their belongings.
"The whole idea is take any threat or comment seriously and learn the warning signs," Farrell said.
For those who may be concerned that friends or family remembers are contemplating suicide, Farrell said they should just ask that person. He said research shows that asking loved ones if they're thinking about killing themselves won't put the idea into their head and may in fact save a life.
Farrell believes a majority of people contemplating suicide may want to talk to a loved one first.
"A lot of people have lost hope, and they want help," Farrell said.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States with an average of 123 suicides per day, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Farrell praised the county's emergency services and local agencies who are working to prevent these tragedies. He said those in need of help can contact Rock County Crisis Intervention at 608-757-5025 or the Rock County non-emergency phone number at 608-757-2244. If someone is in immediate danger, Farrell said residents should call 911.
In nonemergency cases, he said police may be dispatched to do a welfare check. In case of emergencies, the 911 Communications Center could be able to trace the location of callers contemplating suicide.
Rock County Crisis Intervention provides help to people of all ages who are experiencing either a mental health and/or a alcohol/drug related emergency. The Rock County Crisis Intervention Unit operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week with professionally trained, crisis intervention workers and psychiatric technician staff.
Farrell said those who know someone who has lost a loved one to suicide should reach out to them.
"In order for them to move forward with their healing process, they are in need of our help and compassion," Farrell said.