From the Editor: Introducing a new series on a tough topic
Usually, the Craig Press editorial runs in this space on Fridays, but sometimes there’s something that really deserves to be written about from a personal perspective.
Since I’ve taken over the role of editor here at the Craig Press, I’ve had a quite a few stories thrown at me. Some have been worth pursuing, others… not so much. However, one that really struck a chord with me and pushed me in the direction to not only do something about it, but expand it into a multi-part series has been the suicide issue here in Moffat County.
For context, 2019 has been the worst year in 20 years for suicide within the borders of Moffat County. Eight people have died by suicide this year alone. If that’s not scary enough to read, think about this — locally as well as nationally the month of December is the worst for suicide.
I know what you’re thinking reading this; talking about a subject like suicide only encourages it. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
There is a commonly held perception in psychology that inquiring about suicide, either in research or clinical settings, can increase suicidal tendencies. Talking about suicide provides the opportunity for communication. Fears shared are more likely to diminish, according to clinical research.
Experts say the first step in encouraging a person with thoughts of suicide to live comes from talking about those feelings. A simple inquiry about whether or not the person is intending to end their life can start the conversation. However, talking about suicide should be carefully managed.
This series that I’m going to embark on is all about educating people on what’s going on here locally, and what can be done to help, while also letting people know there’s help out there.
Out West it feels like there’s a “Cowboy Philosophy,” which is the thought process that mental health is a sign of weakness, that you should be able to handle your stuff and not need help for anything.
That’s an archaic way of thinking. We simply don’t listen as a society. Listening is the power tool. Suicide isn’t the problem, it’s simply a perceived solution to unhappiness or general problem, as Moffat County Suicide Prevention Coordinator Meghan Francone said to me earlier this week.
We as a society have to do a better job of listening to our fellow people. As Daniel Bingham of Open Heart Advocates told me earlier this week in an open discussion regarding suicide with a number of key figures in the community, if you’re concerned about somebody, pay attention to them. It’s okay to genuinely ask if they’re okay.
Not enough of that is done in society right now. Sure, you’ll get the nod and the “how’re you doing?” at City Market or Walmart, but people aren’t genuinely taking the time to care about their fellow person.
Hopefully through this series I’m about to embark on with the Craig Press, we’ll be able to enlighten people on what’s happening right here in the county, and educate them on where to get help, how to help people seek treatment, and make this a much more important subject that isn’t — and shouldn’t be — taboo.
As Craig Police Capt. Bill Leonard said during that discussion, we can’t lose another person. He’s right.