Talking about the local suicide crisis is no picnic.

We have become desensitized to words like suicide and crisis. A suicide crisis is a situation in which a person is attempting to kill themselves, or is thinking or planning to do so. More people die by suicide compared to opiate overdoses, but suicide doesn't get the same amount of attention that drug deaths do. Every week we're told about all the overdose deaths, but there are more deaths by suicide. But you'd never know it, because the news doesn't report it, and we're not talking about it.

Suicide is a real predator, and the most effective tool to prevent suicide is educating the public that suicide is a public health issue that is largely preventable. Maybe we can't control what a person is thinking, but we can help them control what they do about it.

So let's start talking.

Suicide is most often committed in response to a cause of depression. Depression is a biggie, and individuals suffering from depression are considered a high-risk group for suicidal behavior. Almost all suicides are related to a mood disorder. It might be the result of a relationship breakup, bullying, a serious illness or injury, the death of a loved one, financial shortfalls, serious guilt, gender identity and old age.

Most suicide attempts fail, and thank God for that, because the feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness can be treated successfully.

Locally, Rev. David Lima is the chair of the Greater New Bedford Suicide Prevention Coalition. He recently appeared on The Phil Paleologos Show along with Chanda Coutinho and Wendy Botelho, both from Child and Family Services. Their mission is to support, heal, guide and strengthen the lives of children and families facing distressing challenges. Call their help line anytime at (508) 996-3154, most especially during the darkest hours of hopelessness, in the hope to find better times.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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