If you have any doubts about the insidious and seductive nature of suicide, you shouldn't. A 2019 South Dakota Department of Health survey found "that 1 in 4 high school students seriously considered suicide" and over 12% of them attempted it.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for South Dakotans ages 10 to 39. Those numbers are beyond stunning and reflect the chaotic nature of our current global situation. But beyond that influence, ultimately and more importantly, the question that always remains for loved ones is - - why?

The answers aren't easy, can be multi-faceted, and even when the reasons are known, will remain incomprehensible to those left behind. What may be the final straw for a suicidal person, could appear minor, unexpected, and sudden to everyone outside of the victim.

Triggering factors are many, including, substance and personal abuse, depression, lack of support or isolation, societal upheaval (like we're experiencing now), survivor guilt (common in veterans of war), terminal illness, and many, many more.

Here in South Dakota during National Suicide Prevention Month, the Department of Social Services (DSS) and the Department of Health (DOH) have joined forces with their BeThe1SD/Change My Mind suicide prevention campaign.

The mission of the campaign is to save lives, particularly in the 10 to 24-year-old category. By providing resources and educating youths to learn more about the signs and symptoms of someone who may be contemplating killing themself, the hope is to change the person's mind. To "be the one" who steps up to help a family member or friend who may be on the precipice.

Please check out BeThe1SD to learn how to know when someone may be considering suicide, how you can help, and how to reach out to someone who is struggling.

If you or someone you know needs help right now, call 211 or 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) and everything will be kept confidential.

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