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Mary Weiler, Published June 12 2009

Chapter pleased with resolution on suicide prevention

On April 7, a concurrent resolution to recognize the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the North Dakota chapter was filed with the secretary of state. Legislators of both the House and Senate adopted and supported this resolution.

This resolution supports the efforts of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the North Dakota chapter for their efforts in understanding and preventing suicide through research and education and for providing programs and resources to individuals with mood disorders.

The resolution also recognizes the work that is being done for survivors of suicide loss, recognizes depression as a mental illness and how individuals who suffer from depression may be at increased risk of suicidal behavior.

More than 90 percent of people who die by suicide have an illness such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or substance abuse at the time of their death – sometimes diagnosed, sometimes not.

Many factors come together in a multitude of different combinations to make a death by suicide. The more factors or types of mental distress or illnesses that one experiences, the stronger the state of vulnerability. Just as people can die of heart disease or cancer, they can die as a consequence of mental illness.

Research also shows that more than 60 percent of us will lose someone we know to suicide during the course of our lifetime; more than 20 percent of us will lose a family member.

Nevertheless, the historical stigma surrounding suicide persists, leaving many survivors of suicide loss feeling misunderstood and abandoned. It is only when we get beyond this stigma that education will be possible and suicide prevention a reality.

By adopting this resolution, our legislators have sent a clear message to the people of North Dakota – that there is help and there is hope.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the North Dakota chapter is grateful for this recognition and will continue to work to end the stigma that surrounds suicide and aggressively continue with the research and prevention projects that are needed to save lives.

Weiler is associated with the North Dakota Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.