September is Suicide Prevention Month, an issue that is near and dear to my heart. I’ve lost friends and family to suicide and battled depression and suicidal thoughts myself. For this coming Wednesday’s paper, I asked our sales team to sell a “Suicide Awareness” page to highlight an issue that affects nearly everyone in some way or another. As I was writing the article for the page and doing research on statistics, I read the most disturbing suicide fact: suicide claims more than double the amount of lives than homicide in a year in the United States.

I gained the information from the National Institute of Mental Health, a United States government organization. However, even with a reliable source, I decided to fact-check the statistic. Everywhere I turned, I saw the same statement: suicide claims more than double the amount of lives than homicide in a year in the United States.

Weekly (if not daily at times), we hear about another mass shooting. I will be the first to admit that I believe our nation can do better, I believe we need stricter gun laws, and I’m really sick of some people seeming to care more about their guns than lives, but when I read this statistics on suicide I realized that America isn’t really, actually paying attention. I’ve been an advocate for suicide awareness for a long time. I’ve written dozens of articles, participated in events, and spoken to survivors, but somehow this is the first time I’ve heard these statistics.

Here we are worrying about our kids being shot at school by their classmates when we should be twice as worried that they are going to go home and kill themselves. Here we are worried that we might be killed by a gun-wielding nut at Walmart or at a concert when shoppers and music lovers are far more likely to go home and kill themselves. And no one is reporting on it. Mass media doesn’t care about these suicides; they don’t outrage people like school shootings do, but they should.

We’re worried about how many people were killed in Chicago over the weekend by a gun, and we don’t even ask ourselves how many were killed in Chicago over the weekend by their own hands.

Suicide claims more than double the amount of lives than homicide in a year in the United States.

Where are the protests for those lives lost? Where are laws and legislation promoting mental health? Where are the vigils for the over 100 Americans dying every day in silence?

On Tuesday, Sept. 3 there was a two-hour high-speed chase through Allen and Van Wert Counties that ended in the death of a Spencerville man. Many were quick to say that he deserved to die for putting others at risk, but when the 9-1-1 call was released, I couldn’t help but feel really sad for this man.

This man clearly needed help, and I guarantee that he needed it long before Tuesday. Likely, he exhibited tons of warning signs. It seemed his life had been going sour for a while. He told cops that he wanted to die and he wanted them to kill him. A lot of people think when someone snaps or when they kill themselves, they were just having a really bad day. I don’t think I’ll ever get that man’s word out of my head when negotiators tried to get him to stop.

“Point blank, I do not care anymore. I’m not just having a bad day, ma’am,” he said to an officer.

It’s not just one bad day, and these actions don’t just come on all of a sudden. People are afraid to ask for help, and asking people to ask for help isn’t working.

If you’re reading this and can think of someone who is struggling, take initiative, and reach out to them. Some people aren’t just having one bad day, and they need you to say something.