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Shannon Bacon, Published February 17 2010

FirstLink can help in suicides

In light of recent events, we at FirstLink (a local nonprofit organization) want to remind community members of our suicide services that exist both for survivors of suicide loss and for individuals currently feeling suicidal. North Dakota has the 15th-highest rate of suicide per capita nationwide, and one person dies of suicide in North Dakota every four days. Globally, suicide claims the lives of more than 1 million individuals each year (this is higher than the number of world deaths each year from war and homicide combined).

The American Association of Suicidology estimates that for every suicide, there are at least six surviving individuals who are intimately affected by the death. Survivors of suicide loss are not alone, and support is available. FirstLink offers a monthly Suicide Survivor Support Group (free of charge). This group is a safe atmosphere for survivors to give and receive comfort for the loss of their loved ones to suicide. If you are in need of this support and would like more information, please contact the FirstLink administrative office at (701) 293-6462.

If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please seek help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, operated locally by FirstLink, is available 24 hours a day at (800) 273-TALK. For more information on FirstLink’s suicide services, visit us online at www.myfirstlink.org.

Bacon, LSW, is training and education coordinator for FirstLink.