Awareness for suicide prevention spreads past September

NEGAUNEE — September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, but Marquette County is doing its part to ensure that message is spread year round.

A slew of activities to encourage open communication about suicide prevention are historically held in September, but spreading awareness for the topic is still necessary even after the month ends.

“Just because September is suicide prevention month, we recognize that suicide and the importance of the awareness of it is a year round activity,” said Marquette County Health Department Health Educator Sarah McDerwin. “What we’re doing is a lot of awareness initiatives, but we’re also trying to do policy initiatives. When you have a community that is working on a continuity of care, you’re less likely to have people fall through the cracks and not be identified or get the help that they need. That’s a long term goal.”

Suicide prevention policy is now being talked about in several school districts around the county. In addition, the Marquette County Suicide Prevention Alliance offers free Q-P-R classes to teach risk factors and other prevention techniques.

“It’s really important to promote help-seeking behavior. We want this to be a community where that isn’t anything anyone should be ashamed or embarrassed of,” McDerwin said. “It should be promoted that we have resources, we want people to seek help, maybe not necessarily if they’re feeling suicidal, but if they’re going through a tough time, they have circumstances in their life that is really testing their ability to cope. We want them to be able to reach out.”

If you’re looking for more information on dealing with suicide, a prevention conference will be held on October 10. We will have more details about that event as it gets closer.