NORRISTOWN, PA — Montgomery County honors this week, Sept. 10 - 16, 2023, as Suicide Prevention Week. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)., 49,449 people died by suicide in 2022 nationwide.
This year, the Montgomery County Suicide Prevention Taskforce, with the support of the Horsham Clinic, has organized displays of 100 pinwheels to honor the lives lost to suicide in 2022 in the county.
"Every single one of those pinwheels represents a person," said Anna Trout, director of crisis and diversion in the Office of Mental Health at Montgomery County's Department of Health and Human Services. "They represent our family members and friends."
Over 15 sites across the county are displaying pinwheels this week and throughout the month of September, which is National Suicide Awareness Month. Sites include Montgomery County Community College campuses in Blue Bell and Pottstown, North Penn High School, Einstein Medical Clinic in East Norriton, Queen of Peach Church in Ardsley, and more.
What can you do to prevent suicide?
Suicide is a public health problem, and it is preventable. Trout encourages anyone to look for verbal clues, like "I wish I could go to sleep and not wake up," or behavioral clues, like a change in energy or demeanor. Changes in circumstances should also be noted, such as situation that make someone feel isolated, out of control, or a burden to others.
The Montgomery County Suicide Prevention Taskforce offers free and low-cost community training and outreach to organizations, companies and community members. The Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) Training infoms attendees about the three simple steps that anyone can use to help save a life from suicide.
"I did the QPR training in 2017, and twice since then, I've had to ask that question of someone, 'Are you considering suicide?' which can be the hardest thing to do, but can make all the difference, said Commissioner Chair Kenneth E. Lawrence, Jr.
The Montgomery County Suicide Taskforce is made up of attempt survivors, loss survivors, educators, mental health professionals, medical professionals, drug and alcohol professionals, law enforcement officers, friends, neighbors, family members, community members, and partners.
"If you see yourself reflected in this list, join us; you will be among friends," said Trout. "If you don't see yourself in this list, we need your perspective."
To get information about suicide prevention trainings or to join the taskforce, visit our website. Contact Anna Trout at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
If you or someone you care about is in a mental health crisis, call the Montgomery County Mobile Crisis hotline 24/7 at 1-855-634-HOPE (4673) or the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 9-8-8.
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