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Letter: Suicide can be prevented with early detection, treatment

The Centers for Disease Control announced that the suicide rate among middle-aged Americans climbed 28 percent between 1999 and 2010.

My father was middle-aged when I lost him to suicide in 1977. I wasn’t thinking about statistics. I was a teen and overwhelmed by the question “Why. …?”

There were fewer answers then. There was a stigma surrounding suicide, a darkness. Sadly, there still is to some extent. The good news is we now have more organizations that shine a light on the problem, such as the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. 

Today, with a few clicks of a mouse people can get answers that took me decades to discover. Here’s one: Ninety percent of people who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness, often undiagnosed depression or alcohol and substance abuse. Here’s another: With early detection and treatment, suicide can be prevented.

Visit afsp.org for information about suicide and to learn how to get more involved. I did.

— Tony Bickert, board member, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention — Alaska Chapter

Eagle River