By Sheriff Frank Reynolds
Each year, the Cherokee Marshall’s Office keeps a statistical report of all death investigations within the county, which includes the Sheriff’s Office and each of the municipalities. In 2018, there were 133 death investigations within the county. The manner of death is ruled by both the Coroner’s Office and the state crime lab, which may include accidental, accidental overdose, fire, homicide, natural, suicide, and undetermined. The coroner and crime lab reports often rely on toxicology results before making a final determination as to the cause of death.
Last year, there were 33 reported cases of suicide. However, that number could increase, as cases are still being finalized. These investigations are some of the most troubling, as detectives must search for reasons that may lead a person to consider suicide. According to the Georgia Survivor Family Network, an estimated 43,000 Americans commit suicide each year, and almost 1,300 of those are Georgians.
There are many risk factors that may lead a person to consider harming themselves:
•Child abuse or neglect
•Alcohol and/or drug abuse
•Exposure to suicidal behavior by others
•History of depression or other mental illness
•Family history of suicide
The warning signs of someone contemplating suicide may vary from person to person. However, there are some common factors/warning signs to consider when someone is trying to cope with pain and may be having suicidal thoughts or tendencies.
A person contemplating suicide may exhibit these warning signs:
•Increased substance abuse
•Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep, or sleeping all the time
•Withdrawn from friends and family
•Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
•Talking or writing about death
•Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
Another aspect of suicide are the loved ones left behind (survivors). “A survivor of suicide is any person who has lost a loved one to suicide. It could be the loss of a family member, friend, client, or co-worker. Loss is relative to the relationship with the person, so all who are impacted by the loss are considered a survivor of suicide.” -Georgia Survivor Family Network
Survivors often feel guilt, shock, and blame when learning that someone close to them has taken his/her life. Resources are available for people who are affected by suicide. One such group is the Georgia Survivor Family Network (GeorgiaSurvivors.com).
If you (or someone you know) are considering suicide,
or you are a survivor and need to talk, please reach out to someone to help you cope with your pain. There are many resources available to you.
Georgia Crisis & Access Line 800-715-4225
Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-TALK (8255)