Dear Editor, 

September is National Suicide Prevention Month.  

According to a recent Harris poll, Americans overwhelmingly (93%) believe that suicide can be prevented, and most (95%) would take action to help someone close to them who was thinking about suicide.

However, the survey also found that most respondents (69%) identified barriers and stigma that keep them from discussing suicide with family or friends. These barriers included not knowing what to say, feeling they don’t have enough knowledge, or not feeling comfortable with the topic.

The Johnson County Suicide Prevention Coalition seeks to prevent suicide through public awareness and education; eradicate stigma; and serve as a resource to the community - especially those touched by suicide.

Our encouragement is that we simply “be there” for each other. Be ready, willing, and able to have real, honest conversations to be there for someone who might be struggling or is in crisis. Some examples of how someone can “be there” include: Check in with a friend by phone or text message to see how they are doing; Invite a friend to meet for a coffee or meal together; Send a handwritten card to let someone know you are thinking of them; Help connect someone who is struggling to professional care; Share the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Number (800-273-8255), which provides 24/7, free, and confidential support; for specialized care, military veterans may press ‘1.’  Or, the Crisis Text Line: text WYO to 741741.

Together, we can change the conversation about suicide by countering myths and fear with information and action steps everyone can take. We all have a role to play in suicide prevention, not only during the month of September but all year long. Be there.

Bill Hawley

Johnson County Suicide Prevention Coalition


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