Here if in need of an ear
By JEFF JOBE
Prevention is defined as the action of stopping something from happening or arising. The most critical element to prevention is being prepared to take action when necessary to do so.
Some communities offer classes to teach methods of communication allowing a sense of involvement with one another in the community. Listening skills are essential, not only with our ears but with our eyes as well. Another key component of awareness is a person’s body language. A person’s tone, actions, and movements give a more vivid picture of one’s genuine internal well-being rather than relying on small talk.
There are good people also here to listen and offer advice in order to help them cope by building resiliency skills when faced with difficult decisions. Truly noble professionals along with volunteer initiatives offer those as well. More of us should step up.
These people and all the classes in the world require our presence and participation. It is up to us to take what we’ve learned even further and act to prevent suicide.
I have known friends and family who have committed suicide, as many of those reading this article have.
Unfortunately, some starting out in their young lives have the pressures of being teens in today’s difficult world with the latest issue of cyber-bullying. Others would have you think they had the world in the bag. I’ve seen doctors, lawyers, gay, straight, single, married, moms, dads, and kids cut their lives short. Still, in all reality none of us know the internal struggle of others. If I have learned anything from publishing news for more than 20-years it is to think I have someone completely understood. All of us are complex individuals in our own right.
Last night I got a call that a college fraternity brother just took his life and we will be having a ritual funeral service for him in Lexington. He was a successful attorney, talented musician, and a great role model for younger men and myself included. Regrettably, within the past couple of years his daughter was murdered in her, once, safe home. This combined with losing a long-term marriage any man could feel lost.
Suicide always seems to come as a shock but there are warning signs. This is absolutely easier said and written than witnessed in real world life. Who among us wouldn’t fall susceptible to depression and sadness bringing about isolation and over-indulgence in alcohol or some other distraction for coping with traumatic situations?
I believe it is a plethora of tragic circumstance that puts us at considerable risk. My grandmother, Mae Rose Miller, used to say, “The good Lord puts no more on us than we can handle.” As for me and my life this has been true; although, I have more than a few times, felt I was reaching the tipping point myself.
As family, friends, leaders, co-workers, and acquaintances, we need to know what those warning signs are and be prepared to take the appropriate actions to intervene.
I have also been in situations where I was fortunate enough to recognize signs and take the action. Later I was told I made a difference. Let me tell you now, this is an amazing feeling and one I would love for us all to know. It wasn’t easy and was often terrifying. Unknowingly, my success or my failure meant the difference between life and death for someone. I could feel them on the edge and my words and actions were being evaluated.
It may be awkward to ask a friend, “Are you thinking about killing yourself?”. It won’t be nearly as uncomfortable as standing beside 20 of your best friends from college at his or her graveside memorial.
Preventing suicide requires reaching inside ourselves and digging deep where we can find sincere care, compassion, and love for our fellow man.
I am writing this column because I absolutely love my work. As your community newspaper publisher I am so very lucky to have the life I have been given. A life that has had its difficult and real-life situations, just as all of you reading, has welcomed into your homes each week through a simple, annual subscription.
It is my hope that one of you might, perhaps, think of a friend in need and reach out to them. Whether you see the need to help someone else or you are in need yourself, it is essential to know that you are indeed a part of a caring community. If given the opportunity many of us would, without hesitation, help you through your challenging times.
If we are to make a difference, it is up to us to actively prevent suicide and encourage others to do the same.
Jeff Jobe is founder and CEO of Jobe Publishing, Inc. His commentary reflects his personal views and does not reflect the views of personal or professional associations and affiliations. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his previously published commentary at www.jobeforkentucky.com