A community of support

As we enter the winter months, I just want to bring greater awareness as to how important our daily interactions are with one another in our homes, as well as in our community.

Saranac Lake has a strong community base. I’m always amazed at the warmth of perfect strangers in our town. It is little things that make a difference in how we experience our day-to-day lives. When people stop to allow pedestrians to cross the street or hold the door open for the person coming into the post office; this creates a sense of warmth and compassion in our daily experiences. Holding people in a place of respect and dignity in our interactions at work and home goes a long way in helping us to feel good about who we are. Taking time to be present and listen to our friends and loved ones helps us all feel appreciated and loved. These are things we sometimes forget to do as we go about our daily lives.

In the winter months we tend to spend more time indoors. The gray days with little sunlight can be hard on us. It is easy to feel an increase in symptoms of depression or anxiety. Some people sink so deeply into a state of hopelessness that they contemplate suicide. It is always surprising when someone dies by suicide and we wonder what we could have done to help. While we are fortunate to have many mental health resources in our community, the most important people in our lives are people we interact with on a daily basis. When people have thoughts of suicide, it is hard for them to share these thoughts directly. It is more common for someone with suicidal thoughts to drop subtle hints. It is so important to be open to listening to other people’s fears, doubts and anxieties. Let them know that you care and are present for them.

Every month the Franklin County Suicide Prevention Coalition meets to explore ways that we can help prevent suicide. We hand out suicide prevention literature, T-shirts and other materials at events such as the farmers market. We offer a Suicide Loss Survivor Group on the third Wednesday of every month for people who have lost loved ones to suicide. We also provide trainings to various groups and are always looking for other places to expand our educational resources. We invite groups who are interested in receiving training on suicide prevention to contact us. We have the resources in our community to prevent suicide. It takes each and every one of us to be present in our lives. We invite you to be part of the discussion of “How we can prevent suicide in our community?” We can make a difference for one another. For more information, contact Franklin County Community Services at 518-891-2280.

Rivka Cilley, a licensed clinical social worker, is based at Sukha Integrative Health in Saranac Lake.