Suicide prevention in North Dakota

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Chief Heith Janke and many of the first-responders on hand at the statewide summit held today know all too well about suicide calls.

"It’s a reality of what we face on a daily basis of people threatening to commit suicide or actually committing suicide," said Heith Janke, West Fargo Police Chief.

Senator Heidi Heitkamp put together a summit to help reduce the numbers of deaths by suicide. Several caregivers and first responders felt this makes a big difference because now those contemplating suicide, can have better conversations with responders to get them the help they need.

"We are losing people too young we are losing some of our Grandpas and Grandmas, it cuts across all socio-economic lines, it cuts across gender," said Senator Heidi Heitkamp.

Having a strategy to tackle the issue of suicide is what Heitkamp stresses. She says that by better understanding the science and early identification signs, it will remove the stigma and help the public crisis in the state.

"I think that we are short in behavior and mental health services, and that is going to continue until we make an absolute commitment to changing outcomes," said Heitkamp.

One point brought up throughout the summit was how suicide can be thought about at any age.

"One of the things that happens in the brain we believe is that people become increasingly focused, and they lose the perspective to be able to say there is a good reason to stay alive," said Ronald M. Burd.

For parents who want to help their kids cope with anxiety and depression which normally leads to suicide...

"Watching for any change in their day to day functioning. Has their hygiene or eating or sleeping routines changed, and if so monitoring that," said Shauna Erickson.

Bill Burns Director of the Counseling center at NDSU says between October and November their resources are more needed on campus for students. While there are crisis hours and a 24 hour counselor on call for suicide assistance, he and Heitkamp believe the fight must continue if we want to see a change in our communities.

Numbers to call if you are having suicidal thoughts.
1-800-273-8225
(701) 232- 4357
(701) 235 - 7335