In the field of suicide prevention, media matters tremendously. Stories of hope and recovery are known to prevent suicide while detailed stories of suicide methods and glorification of suicide can increase risk of suicide. Thank you to Hibbing Daily Tribune, and especially Carrie Manner and Katie Freeden, for your effective and caring coverage of this topic. Most recently, HDT shared Hibbing Police Chief Steve Estey and colleague's compassionate response to those who are in suicidal crisis. This was powerful.
We also want to add that, as the HDT have highlighted, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Crisis Text Line (text "range" to 741741) are great options. The Lifeline staff are highly trained and will take calls from people in intense suicidal crisis and from people who are concerned about someone who is in crisis (family, friends, strangers, healthcare providers, police and fire). Further, people who are suicidal say that what is most important are the elements of the type of training that one Hibbing police department officer recently received for crisis intervention training (called "Crisis Intervention Training" or "Mental Health Crisis Intervention and Recognizing Diversity training"). That is, we should do our best to not panic, stay present with that person and listen, and provide some hope that you believe things could get better for them. Thanks to HPD and HFD for bringing that approach.
There are lots of good things on the horizon, both big and small, that are changing our approach to suicide and mental health and substance crises. For example, we are beginning to move away from phrases like "suicide threat" and towards "someone asking for help who is having suicidal thoughts" because they carry a bit less stigma and make it easier for people to reach out. We are hopeful for a world where it is no longer "us" (the people who don't struggle with mental health or substances) and "them" (those that do). It is all "us" and thankfully we are in this together.
Please put the Lifeline in your phone right now (1-800-273-8255) because you never know when a friend of family member may need it. Also, please watch the Hibbing Daily Tribune's Facebook page for a live event at Virginia Memorial Park on Wednesday at 1:30 in Virginia (or join in person). There's big news coming: two major announcements coming that involve the Range Community, the Minnesota Department of Health, and St. Louis County Public Health.
With gratitude and go #ThriveRange,
Ursula (Seattle) and Tom (Hibbing) Whiteside