To the editor:
"Double Take" addressed a serious public health concern: suicide. Still, those worried parents and others struggling with how to help a loved one, would benefit from additional guidance.
We need to know that we are doing all we can to get help for our loved one(s). It can mean literally getting her/him in the car and driving to a counseling center or hospital. It means sharing what you know about your loved one's thoughts, actions, and feelings that convince you that s/he is in urgent need of help with the clinician who is guiding mental health treatment.
Best practices in managing suicide risk include bringing all of her/his primary support people into the counseling room. The person needing help must agree to this level of sharing. If s/he is not yet willing to allow this, loved ones still have the right to share information with the clinician. And that information can truly be life-saving.
Family support is available through our local and state chapters of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI.) Lawrence Memorial Hospital provides the safety net of crisis stabilization within the emergency department. We have several affordable therapy options in our community. And 24 hours daily Headquarters Counseling Center, credentialed as meeting national standards in suicide prevention, is available free of charge at 841-2345.
Suicide is NEVER someone else's fault. But when a loved one dies in this way, guilt is one of the common reactions for survivors. Please use supports for every concern about suicide.
Marcia Epstein, director,
Headquarters Counseling Center, Lawrence