By Laura Bentley
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds. Of those who have thoughts of suicide, most want to live but feel trapped in their current situation. They want to end the pain they are experiencing. A tragic mystery of suicide is that its next to impossible to know why or when one moment becomes more unbearable than another for those we lose. Research indicates the interval between deciding to act and the attempt can be as short as five minutes. As troubling as these statistics may be, like most public health problems, there are ways to help prevent suicide.
Milton is home to award-winning schools and one of the safest ZIP codes in the state, yet the city is constantly striving to provide the best quality of life to its residents by finding ways to create a strong sense of community and promote connectedness.
One of the myths we need to tackle is how talking about suicide causes suicide, said Jason Howard, a staff associate therapist at The Summit Counseling Center. Research actually shows the opposite engaging someone in a deliberate and caring conversation about suicide is shown to be the first step toward preventing suicide.
At 7:00pm, September 10, during National Suicide Prevention Week, the City of Milton will host Suicide, A Community Conversation in the Council Chambers at Milton City Hall. This event is a collaborative effort led by the City, Summit Counseling, Fulton County, Fulton County Schools, mental health professionals, and parents.
The keynote address will be delivered by Lauralyn Mustaki and Britt Beene, Milton mothers of teens who died by suicide within four years of each other. Their stories are certain to provide powerful insight, understanding, and hope, as the Milton community takes this bold step toward suicide prevention. The forum will be livestreamed, so all residents with a Milton connection can tune in remotely. The event recording will also be archived and available for viewing through the Citys website (CityOfMiltonGa.us).
To emphasize the Citys commitment to suicide prevention, Mayor Joe Lockwood will also present a citywide proclamation.
In order for Milton to be the best place to call home, were always looking for ways for our citizens to connect and learn, even when the subject is as difficult as suicide, said Lockwood.
Along with this community event, Summit Counseling will offer a trusted adult training, September 22, 5:00pm, at Community Place in Milton City Hall for anyone who wants to know how to identify, respond, and react appropriately to warning signs and risk factors related to suicide. Full details for the Milton Community Conversation on Suicide are available on the city website calendar at CityOfMiltonGa.us/calendar.