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World Suicide Prevention Day: Maine in Top Ten States at Risk for Suicide

It is World Suicide Prevention Day, and training sessions like this one in Brunswick held by NAMI Maine help people identify the warning signs of suicide and take action. Courtesy: NAMI Maine
It is World Suicide Prevention Day, and training sessions like this one in Brunswick held by NAMI Maine help people identify the warning signs of suicide and take action. Courtesy: NAMI Maine
September 10, 2015

AUGUSTA, Maine - Reaching out and saving lives. That's the theme of World Suicide Prevention Day today, and advocates say Mainers need to pay particular attention.

Jenna Menhert, MSW, executive director of NAMI-Maine, says the state ranks number nine in the nation for suicide. She says feelings of hopelessness often are the trigger when Mainers decide to take their own life.

"We have the startling statistic that a Mainer dies by suicide every 1.5 days, or every day-and-a-half," she says. "That actually means that in Maine, you are eight times more like to die from suicide than homicide."

Menhert advises if you encounter a friend, co-worker or family member who seems to be down, try to get them talking. If they do mention thoughts of suicide, do not leave them alone until you get help. The Maine Crisis Prevention Hotline number is 1-888-568-1112.

Menhert says older men are at the highest risk of suicide in both Maine and the nation, and next highest-risk group are adolescents. She says the third group at risk of suicide is unusual in the state.

"We lose are lot more men ages 35 to 55 to suicide than other states. So, that's a uniquely high-risk group in the state of Maine," she says.

NAMI-Maine offers free gatekeeper training on its website that can help you spot the signs of suicide and take appropriate action.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - ME