Star Herald Editorial

Let's be open about suicide; help is here for those who are hurting

The Star Herald rarely covers private suicides as news out of respect for grieving family members.

But the family of Dani Gacke has faced their tragedy head on, the next day announcing their tragedy on social media.

“With broken hearts our family is informing you all that our beautiful loving daughter, Dani, took her life last night, but her legacy will continue.”

The announcement stunned the community, and it was easily the most compelling news in Luverne.

But was it newsworthy for newspaper coverage?

Turns out it is — especially considering the Gacke family’s quest for preventing other such pain among their loved ones.

And especially considering the precarious position some of our hurting teens (and adults) may be in at this moment.

We don’t want to sensationalize or glamourize suicide, but local mental health professionals tell us suicide is on the rise in our area and in our state.

•Suicide is the No. 2 cause of death in people ages 15-34.

•It’s the No. 3 cause of death for children ages 10-14.

•One person commits suicide in Minnesota every 12 hours.

There are definite warning signs that someone is hurting and may need help:

•Withdrawing from friends and family

•Rage or anger

•Anxiety, agitation or mood swings

•Sleeplessness

•Engaging in risky activities without thinking

•Increasing alcohol or drug abuse

•Talking about hurting or killing oneself

We also want our readers to know there are local suicide prevention resources available and assistance if life’s emotions become too overwhelming.

•Our school district has a team of mental health professionals. While school is not currently in session, this fall may bring back feelings of missing a classmate.

•Southwestern Mental Health Center in Luverne has a round-the-clock Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-642-1525 or text “Life” to 61222. Or call the local office at 283-9511.

•Our local clergy and church groups can bring a religious perspective to life’s challenges in a supportive environment.

• Just talking to a friend, sibling or parent about what you’re feeling can be a great release of pent-up emotions.

•And don’t be afraid to ask a person about his or her intentions and seek immediate help.

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