BLOOMFIELD, NJ – American Foundation for Suicide Prevention hosted a ‘Talk Save Lives’ presentation for parents and community members on Thursday evening at Bloomfield High School’s Media Center.
 
This eye-opening presentation covered what individuals need to know about this leading cause of death, including the most up-to-date research on prevention, and what can be done to fight suicide.
 
Matt Crystal, a volunteer with AFSP and mental health counselor, was the guest speaker.  Participants learned from Crystal the common risk factors for suicide, how to spot the warning signs in others, and how to keep ourselves, our loved ones and those in our community safe.
 
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“Suicide is prevalent in every community,” Crystal said.  “People need to feel slightly more comfortable around the word suicide.  It’s a complex health issue but depside its complexity, suicide is preventable.  Just like there are warning signs and risk factors for other crisis’s like cardiac arrest, there are warning signs for suicide.“
 
There’s no single cause for suicide.  Suicide most often occurs when stressors and health issues converge to create an experience of hopelessness and despair.  Depression is the most common condition associated with suicide, and it is often undiagnosed or untreated.  


 
Conditions like depression, anxiety and substance problems, especially when unaddressed, increase risk for suicide.
 
”To prevent suicide, we need to identify people who may be struggling, and we need to take an active role in helping them before they take action to end their lives,” said Crystal.
 
Warning signs to look out for when concerned that a person may be suicidal is a change in behavior or the presence of entirely new behaviors.  This is of sharpest concern if the new or changed behavior is related to a painful event, loss, or change.


 
Most people who take their lives exhibit one or more warning signs, either through what they say or what they do.  But it’s important to note that most people who actively manage their mental health conditions go on to engage in life.
 
The presentation in Bloomfield was made possible by funds raised by New Jersey Out of the Darkness Community Walks.  The New Jersey Chapter of American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is fueled by the mission to save lives by providing education and support to the Garden State.
 
The grassroots work focuses on eliminating the loss of life from suicide by delivering innovative prevention programs, educating the public about risk factors and warning signs, raising funds for suicide research and programs, and reaching out to those individuals who have lost someone to suicide.
 
As a part of AFSP’s growing nationwide network of chapters, they bring together people from all backgrounds who want to prevent suicide in our communities.  Families and friends who have lost someone to suicide, vulnerable individuals, mental health professionals, clergy, educators, students, community/business leaders, and many others comprise the chapter.