“The first step, really, is having a conversation with the person you are concerned about,” said Antoinette Steinbarth in the July 12 article highlighting the need for support and preventative services for individuals at risk of suicide.
The Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse would like to commend The Buffalo News for such a needed publication. On average, 129 lives are lost daily to suicide in the United States, and that number mirrors the total average of suicides in Erie County each year.
Conversation and human connection are powerful tools in the aid of prevention for suicide and substance use disorders. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports alcohol use (with a BAC at or above the legal limit) can be linked to 22% of deaths caused by suicide. It also mentions that 20% of suicides show the presence of opiates (painkillers and heroin), 10.2% involve marijuana use, 4.6% can be linked to cocaine use, and that amphetamines have been found to be present in 3.4% of suicides.
Studies also show that a use disorder can increase the risk of suicide to that of 10-14 times higher.
The Just Tell One campaign offers a wealth of support to those in need. Their website, www.justtellone.org, provides insight on various conditions such as depression, suicide and substance abuse. Most importantly, Just Tell One shares guidance on how to start life-changing conversations.
As echoed in Steinbarth’s quote, Just Tell One’s mission states, “On average it takes 10 years for a person [suffering from a condition such as depression, suicide, and substance abuse] to get treatment after the first symptoms appear…. Asking for help doesn’t need to be a challenging task. It can be as simple as just telling one person.”