Our View: Offering hope, help | CraigDailyPress.com

Our View: Offering hope, help

Today, the Craig Daily Press launches “Desperate Decision,” a three-part series about suicide and how a single act can shatter so many lives.

Each Saturday, the series will feature families who have lost loved ones to suicide and others who have been on the verge of taking their own lives.

The series also will feature interviews with emergency crews and victim advocates, who are some of the first on the scene when someone threatens his own life.

And we look at precursors and treatment options for people with depression and life after suicide for families and victims.

Although more prevalent than homicide, suicide is generally regarded by society and the media as a rare occurrence.

But each year in the United States, more than 30,000 people take their lives, while millions more will attempt suicide. In Moffat County, three to five residents commit suicide each year.

So why isn’t anyone talking about suicide?

For years, the media avoided covering suicides for fear of romanticizing it or inspiring so-called copycats. To some, the idea of suicide is incomprehensible and provokes rage and fear.

“The word causes people to run for cover,” said Jim Earle, past president of the Suicide Prevention of Colorado. “It will stop a conversation at a cocktail party.”

But Earle, whose 28-year-old son committed suicide five years ago, said keeping silent on the issue only perpetuates the problem. The media can and should cover suicide in ways that inform, rather than romanticize.

Talking about suicide doesn’t cause it to happen, Earle said. But ignoring the issue can be deadly.

We think that openness about the subject will save lives. And we think the media can and should play an important part in educating the public about the issue and encouraging dialogue.

When people think they are alone, have no where to turn or are afraid to ask for help, suicide can seem like the only solution. Human kindness and understanding can go a long way.

For some Daily Press staff members, the issue of suicide is personal. Photographer and reporter Michelle Perry lost her brother to suicide, a tragedy from which her family will never quite recover.

It is Perry’s hope that the series educates readers about an issue that is surrounded by secrecy, fear, myths and stereotypes. She also hopes the series serves to help anyone contemplating suicide know they’re not alone and there is help available.

Most important, we hope the series offers hope and help.

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