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Michigan Recognizes Suicide Prevention Week

PHOTO: Michiganders join the nation in recognizing Suicide Prevention Week, Sept. 8-14, and the global community will honor World Suicide Prevention Day this Wednesday, Sept. 10. Image courtesy of MASP.
PHOTO: Michiganders join the nation in recognizing Suicide Prevention Week, Sept. 8-14, and the global community will honor World Suicide Prevention Day this Wednesday, Sept. 10. Image courtesy of MASP.
September 8, 2014

LANSING, Mich. - With the death of actor and comedian Robin Williams still fresh in the minds of many Michiganders, mental-health advocates want to keep the conversation and awareness going, as the state and nation recognize Suicide Prevention Week. Joan Durling, president with the Michigan Association for Suicide Prevention, says Williams is just one of many Americans who will take their own lives this year.

"Almost 40,000 reported suicides, and we think about one-in-four are reported. And then on top of that, there's about 10 to 20 attempts for every suicide," Durling says.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicides rates have been on an upward trend since 1999. This fall, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will hold a series of walks across the state, called "Out of the Darkness," to raise funds and awareness for suicide prevention.

Durling stresses, suicide is preventable and more work is needed when it comes to recognizing and treating depression, and removing the stigma from mental illness.

"We just have to keep talking about it," Durling says. "For years and years cancer was always a hidden thing. People didn't talk about cancer and then once people started to talk about it, and what can they do, how can they help, we're doing wonders with the prevention."

Durling encourages anyone who has had thoughts of taking their own life or knows someone who has, to call the association's 24 hour crisis hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI