CLEARFIELD – On Tuesday the Clearfield County Commissioners proclaimed September as Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month and Sept. 9 as Suicide Prevention and Awareness Day at the request of Mary Brown, Clearfield-Jefferson Suicide Prevention Team coordinator.
Brown said there have been a number of suicides in Clearfield County in recent years. More specifically, she said there were 19 suicides in both 2016 and 2017, and there had been 11 suicides so far this year.
“But as our mission states, ‘even one is too many,’” she said, noting that guns were the number one method of suicide and the most at-risk group was older Caucasian males.
Suicide is the 10th-leading cause of all deaths in the United States, where one person dies by suicide every 13 minutes. In addition, nearly five million people in the United States have lost a loved one to suicide.
Suicide claims the lives of over 1,894 Pennsylvanians each year, which translates into an average of one person dying by suicide every five hours in the commonwealth.
In Pennsylvania suicide is the second-leading cause of death for 25- to 34-year-olds; the third-leading cause of death for 10- to 24-year-olds and the fourth-leading cause of death for ages 35 to 54 years.
About Clearfield–Jefferson Suicide Prevention Team
According to its Web site, the Clearfield–Jefferson Suicide Prevention Team is dedicated to reducing the occurrence of suicide within its two-county area. The team wants to achieve its mission by promoting awareness and prevention by offering programs to the community at large.
Trained team members want to be able to provide prevention, intervention and postvention trainings to any and all groups from the faith-based community to the business community. The team wants to make suicide “a topic people can freely talk about and not be in fear of.”
The team wants everyone to learn how to identify the person who may be suicidal and then know what to say to get them the help they so desperately need. Community participation adds strength to the team’s efforts to advocate for solutions and to combat stigma.
The Suicide Prevention Team is comprised of local community providers and individuals who are invested in accomplishing its mission. If you would like to join the team, members encourage you to become involved by attending its meetings, which are always posted on its Web site.
The Clearfield-Jefferson Suicide Prevention Team Inc. is a non-profit organization. All donations will help the team to continue education programs and to advocate for people with mental illnesses and their families.
Trainings, Programs and Events
The team provides Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) training to local businesses and community agencies, groups and social clubs. The trainings take 60 to 90 minutes and cover the steps that anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide.
Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade and refer someone to receive the appropriate help.
Following a QPR training session, you will have learned to recognize the warning signs of suicide, how to offer hope and know how to get help and save a life. To arrange a training for your business, agency or group, please contact Mary Brown at 814- 371-5100, Ext. 330, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Suicide Prevention Team also offers a support group, Grief After Suicide, to share hope and healing for anyone in local communities who have lost a loved one to suicide. Meetings are the second and fourth Monday of every month.
The meetings begin at 5:15 p.m. at the Clearfield and Jefferson County Wellness and Recovery Center, which is located at 110 E. Market St., Suite No. 100, Clearfield.
The meetings offer a safe place to share your experience, to receive education and resources on healthy coping and healing skills and to learn from the struggles and victories of others who take part in the group.
If you are experiencing a crisis emergency, please contact the Clearfield-Jefferson CRISIS Intervention hotline at 1-800-341-5040 or call 9-1-1. The crisis hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
On Sunday, Sept. 9, the Suicide Prevention Team will host its ninth annual Walk for Suicide Prevention and Awareness at the DuBois City Park. Registration will take place at 1 p.m. with the walk to kick off at 2 p.m.
The event will feature approximately 25 resource tables, raffles and refreshments. All proceeds will help the team continue its education programs and advocacy for people with mental illness and their families.
Last year hundreds of people turned out to show their support and to raise awareness. “As a team, we do a lot of good for our community,” Brown said. “Hopefully, word is getting out there more and more that we have this team.
“We provide trainings, resources and services [in our two-county area]. That’s what we are all about, and we want people to know that there is help out there.”