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Awareness first step for suicide change

The Miss-Lou knows pain.

Sometimes waking up to a new day in our wonderful community simply comes with tears in our collective eyes and a deep, untouchable ache in our hearts.

Cancer takes too many here. Tragic accidents occur too often. Life’s unfair twists and turns sometimes seem simply to stop turning and head straight for Natchez.

But perhaps one of our deepest aches is also our most preventable.

Statistically speaking, suicides truly do occur too often in Natchez. They are 36 percent more likely to occur in our county than they are in the United States.

Wow.

We know the pain, but the numbers are an ugly reminder.

Experts point to a number of reasons — poverty, lack of education, drugs — but the “why” doesn’t bring anyone back or change the statistics.

We can only cross our fingers and pray for change if we agree to tackle this community problem head-on and together.

Awareness is the first step.

The Miss-Lou must accept our problem and talk openly about it. We must invest our time and money in providing the education, counseling and resources needed to help those in need.

We must acknowledge that someone around us may be considering suicide.

We must talk about the problem, not ignore it.

This community gathers en masse each May to kick cancer in the face at the annual Relay for Life.

Yet, suicide is a cancer on our community.

An annual suicide walk never draws Relay-like crowds.

Grief counselors often coach those dealing with pain to find comfort with others, get involved in something active and honor the ones they’ve lost.

The only thing this community knows better than pain is how to rally around those in need. Let’s turn our eyes to our suicide problem and set our minds to solving it.