By Cheryl Wilson
Whether you are young or old, rich or poor, married or single, employed or looking for your next job; at some point in life everyone experiences the emotional rollercoaster of feeling sad, or what some call having the blues. No one is immune to feeling lonely, unwanted, or having to deal with grief; it’s part of being human. These feelings may last a few days or a week as we continue to function in our daily lives moving toward bouncing back to our normal selves. But when the bad feelings persist for weeks, months, or longer, causing personality changes, changes in sleep patterns and relationships with family or friends, poor performance at work, unintentional weight loss or gain, you may have moved from just having the blues to having clinical depression.
Depression is a serious medical condition that goes far beyond the emotional ups and downs of normal life. People are unable to pull themselves out of this dark pit without the help of others. If allowed to continue untreated, depression can lead to a sense of hopelessness and helplessness – feeling there is no light at the end of the tunnel. A person with major depression may believe there is no way out of this perceived situation; all they want is for the pain and suffering to end. This is a time of crisis – the person may be considering taking their own life, thinking that it is a viable solution and a way for them to find peace, to not be a burden on friends and family.
Most people will agree that Door County is the ideal place for a weekend visit or an extended vacation, but for those who call the peninsula home, there is a reality that reveals that Door County has an above-average (per capita) suicide rate that impacts all age groups. The seriousness of the problem has been known for some time and has resulted in numerous outreach programs to help people with depression and to show them they are not alone, and that help is available. Depression is treatable, and death by suicide is highly preventable.
For the past five years, Prevent Suicide Door County – Nathan Wilson Coalition has trained its members in QPR and offers presentations to the public, professional groups, school students and service organizations to help people to take the awkward first step of talking to someone they know who displays signs of an untreated depression, and asking them, are you thinking about suicide?
QPR promotes the process of asking the Question about potential suicide, Persuading the person to seek help, and Referring the person to get immediate professional help.
QPR training is a simple and effective course of action that is proven to greatly reduce the risk of a person taking their own life.
Depression is a treatable illness and suicide is a preventable problem.
We have many resources in our county for mental health care:
Prevent Suicide Door County – Nathan Wilson Coalition
24-hour Door County Crisis Line
Call 911 if someone is actively suicidal and in danger of hurting themselves.
The Door County Mental Health & Crisis Prevention Resource Guide is available on the county website (co.door.wi.gov/) or under the “Community Resources” tab on the Door County Library Resources website: doorcountylibrary.org/.
Also available is HOPELINE, a free texting service through the Center for Suicide Awareness. Text “HOPELINE” to 741741 for no-judgment support, hope, empathy, understanding, and resources.
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 800.273.TALK (8255)/ preventsuicidewi.org.
The Veterans Crisis Line is 800.273.8255 (press 1).