Despair and Suicidal Impulse

Published 3:34 pm Monday, January 22, 2018

My hope is that the reader of my words may consider making two potentially lifesaving decisions.

I am aware of two recent suicides in Polk County by gun and think that an impulse – combined with access to a deadly weapon – may have caused these deaths. Some people want a gun in their home for ‘protection’. Consider the fact that more people die of gun deaths in the US every two years than died in all the years of the Vietnam War. Moreover, consider the fact that more than 60 percent of these deaths by gun in the US are suicides! In other words, the mere presence of a gun in the home is more a risk factor for suicide than it is a device for protection. Statistically, you will be safer if you have no guns in your home. Think about it…

Suicidal impulses may also be more easily fulfilled when opioid medications are present. We are all burdened by the opioid epidemic; and now it is being revealed that despair and suicidal impulse are also behind many of these deaths, which annually exceed the deaths of the entire Vietnam War. If you have old prescriptions of oxycontin or other such medications, please take them back to the pharmacy for disposal. These pills can be as lethal as a loaded gun. Additionally, if your doctor or dentist offers you an opioid for pain, reject it… these are highly addictive pills and taking even a few can get you hooked.

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Despair? If someone you know is feeling blue, ask them if they are thinking about self-harm. Your question will not cause them to hurt themselves; it may open a conversation that leads them to getting assistance from a mental health professional. If none is available, turn to your clergy. Research shows that people experiencing mental health despair often turn first to their clergy, most of whom will know how to get help. 

Virgil Stucker, Tryon, N.C.