Cumberland County Recognizes National Suicide Prevention Month

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BRIDGETON, N.J. -

According to officials with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, nearly 45,000 Americans die by suicide each year, making it the 10th leading cause of death in the country.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month and Monday, September 10th, is National Suicide Prevention Day.

“Suicide Prevention Day, week, month … it’s important to recognize it because so many people are struggling with considering taking their own lives and a lot of us don’t know what to look for,” said Melissa Niles, director of Human Services for Cumberland County.

Cumberland County officials want to open the lines of communication for those struggling with mental health issues.

“We want to reduce or eliminate the stigma of mental health diagnosis and suicide," said Niles. "A lot of times people are afraid to talk about it, but not talking about it doesn’t make it go away, it makes it grow.”

And for those who think a loved one is in trouble, she says it’s best to talk to them.

“The research shows that one of the most important things to do if you’re concerned about someone you care about is to ask them directly the question, 'Are you considering killing yourself?,'" said Niles. "Because it shows that you take them seriously and that you care.”

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County officials' efforts continue throughout the year, including next month, when they’ll hold the 4th annual Out of The Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk on Saturday, October 13th.

“[It's] a national effort and the purpose of it is a day of healing and reaching out and education," said Niles regarding the prevention walk. "It’s giving survivors of loved ones an opportunity to come together and heal and remember their loved one. And [to also] hear [and] share experiences with others to know that they’re not alone.”

If you or a loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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