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Nikki Haley says she may not endorse the GOP nominee, President Biden says the U-S will continue air-dropping aid into Gaza and more states look at ditching the electoral college for a national popular vote.

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More conversation, training urged to break stigma of suicide

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Tuesday, October 3, 2023   

Advocates for mental health in Maine say the stigma of suicide often prevents those most at risk from getting the help they need. The CDC reports despite a decline in suicide deaths for those younger than 25 last year, total suicide deaths increased to nearly 50,000.

Joyce Morrissette, clinical suicide-prevention specialist with NAMI Maine, said suicide is a preventable tragedy and that talking to someone in distress about suicide does not trigger them to act but, instead, starts a conversation.

"In order to have a public health approach to suicide, we need to be able to acknowledge it and talk openly about suicide," she said.

Morrissette added NAMI Maine offers professional training, which describes how to have those discussions. Prevention works, she said, if people are willing to learn.

All public school personnel in Maine are required to undergo suicide-prevention awareness training, and health-care professionals also learn the best way to approach their patients. Research shows nearly half the people who die by suicide interact with the health-care system in the month before their death. That provides a critical window in which to utilize the advice from professionals that can save lives, Morrissette said.

"It's important for people to receive training and increase their awareness so that they're able to respond in systems such as schools and health care as well as in communities," she explained.

Morrissette added it is also important to remember that help is always available at the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or online at 988lifeline.org.

Disclosure: NAMI Maine contributes to our fund for reporting on Mental Health, Social Justice, Youth Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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