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EDITORIAL: Suicide public health issue
Times-Tribune - 11/18/2017
Nov. 18--Suicide lurks in the shadows, carrying a stigma that makes it difficult to deal with not only for surviving loved ones, but for the society. How to reduce the number of suicides is one of the most intractable problems in the realm of public health.
That's why a new public and multitrack effort against suicide by health care and community groups and law enforcement is a major step.
According to Lackawanna County District Attorney Shane Scanlon, 120 county residents took their own lives from 2014 through 2016.
Research has shown that easy access to a firearm increases the likelihood of suicide. In Lackawanna County, about 60 percent of victims use handguns. To diminish the temptation, several gun shops agreed to distribute more than 3,000 trigger locks.
Opioid-related suicides have increased, so 19 pharmacies have agreed to provide lock-boxes to anyone with an opioid prescription. The list is at letsstopsuicide.com.
But the most progress might come from getting the issue in the open. As Kathy Wallace, president of the Northeast Suicide Prevention Initiative, put it: "You don't have to be a therapist, you just have to care. ... These statistics we talk about, every point, is a person."
A landmark study of survivors, a handful of people who survived after leaping from the Golden Gate Bridge, found that almost all of them realized as soon as they had jumped that there were other solutions to their problems. The new initiative serves the cause of increasing awareness and making those resources available to people who need them.
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