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At the middle desk: You can prevent it

It's a taboo subject that doesn't get talked about enough, in my opinion. But it should, because a lot of the warning signs come from within and often get pushed to the side by others. I've lost a friend to it, and I'm sure you have as well, or know someone who has lost someone to this monster that can be reduced and eradicated – suicide.

Beginning on Monday, Sept. 8, spanning until Friday, Sept. 13, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) will celebrate National Suicide Prevention Week by helping bring awareness to the silent killer that claimed more than 47,000 American lives in 2017.

In 2014, while at college doing laundry, I learned that a friend had passed away, but later learned that he took his own life. I think of him often and miss him, because, aside from my family, he was my very first friend, spanning as far back as my memory allows. Since then, I've been an advocate and big supporter of worldwide suicide prevention.

The AFSP was established in 1987 to empower a nationwide community affected by suicide to take action in fighting suicide through research, education and advocacy. For over 30 years, the AFSP has been committed to funding scientific research, educating the public about mental health and suicide prevention, advocating for public policies in mental health and suicide prevention and supporting survivors of suicide loss, as well as those affected by suicide.

During National Suicide Prevention Week, I encourage everyone to use resources online at www.afsp.org to help bring awareness to suicide prevention. You can receive prevention knowledge with early detection training, mental health first aid training and other resources to educate you on depression and other warning signs of suicide.

There is a famous singer who said, “If you feel you don't have a reason to wake up tomorrow morning, know this: There is a God. His name is Jesus Christ and He loves you today, just the way you are; right here, right now.”

If you or a loved one is fighting a silent battle, I encourage you to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-TALK (8255). You can also contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

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