To the editor,

If not you, who? No one wants to think that any of their loved ones or friends would ever contemplate taking his or her own life. The unfortunate fact is that suicide occurs in the lives of people from all walks of life, those who have happy, stable families and people whose familial relationships are not as solid. According to Coroner Margaret Luck, there were 11 deaths identified as suicides in Fulton County during 2015. It has been estimated that for every death by suicide in the United States, twenty-five other people make an attempt. Your chances of encountering a person experiencing a mental health crisis are even greater than your chances of coming upon someone having a heart attack. Since ninety-percent of those who die by suicide have a mental health condition, it makes sense that with earlier detection, many people could be helped rather than waiting until their condition degrades to this point of desperation.

Just as CPR helps even those without clinical training assist an individual having a heart attack or other physical trauma, taking a Mental Health First Aid and/or Youth Mental Health First Aid course will provide you with the skills to notice the signs and symptoms of mental health problems and will teach you a five-step action plan for addressing both non-crisis and crisis situations.

September is National Suicide Awareness Month and so I encourage everyone to join the ranks of Mental Health First Aiders. You can assist someone in getting needed help and you just may save a life. The Mental Health Association in Fulton and Montgomery Counties has three certified instructors, myself included. For more information please call me at 518-762-5332 or email [email protected]

Renée Carr

Coordinator of Education, Information-Referral Services

Mental Health Association in Fulton & Montgomery Counties

307-309 Meadow St.

Johnstown, NY 12095