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Know warning signs of suicide and how to help

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Know warning signs of suicide and how to help

Suicide is a serious public health problem. It causes immeasurable pain, suffering and loss to individuals, families, and communities nationwide. Blinded by feelings of self-loathing, hopelessness, and isolation, a suicidal person can’t see any way of finding relief except through death.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Americans 15 to 24 years of age, and more people die from it than car accidents. More than 90 percent of individuals who have successfully committed suicide have a diagnosed mental disorder. This is such a common behavior and it is extremely important to bring awareness to suicide prevention to get these people the help they need.

Suicide prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs and taking them seriously. Signs such as feelings of hopelessness, sleep problems, withdrawal, changes in personality or appearance, excessive sadness, etc.

Talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life. The best way to help is by offering an empathetic, listening ear. Let that person know that he or she is not alone and that you care. It’s very necessary to have a good support system, such as family or friends they can turn to if they need help or to look out for them.

An important tip in suicide prevention is to offer help and support. There are many different resources available, such as online support or even a lifeline, they can call that offer free and confidential support to people 24/7: 1-800-273-8255. Encourage the person to see a mental health professional, help locate a treatment facility, or take them to a doctor’s appointment. Encourage positive lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet, plenty of sleep, and getting out in the sun or into nature for at least 30 minutes each day. Exercise is also extremely important as it releases endorphins, relieves stress, and promotes emotional well-being.

Lastly, make a safety plan by helping the person develop a set of steps he or she promises to follow during a suicidal crisis.

Marissa Buchenic, New Middletown

It’s not the ’40s anymore; back smoke-free initiatives

Back in the 1940s, smoking cigarettes was cool and sexy. Cigarettes were promoted by sportsmen, advertised on television and billboards, and widely distributed to soldiers during World War II. We groomed an entire generation of smokers.

Since then, advances in science and research have proven that smoking can kill both smokers and those who inhale the secondhand smoke as well. Despite this evidence, and many attempts to curb the risk, people are still dying.

According to the American Cancer Society, secondhand smoke is a mixture of mainstream and sidestream smoke. Mainstream smoke is the smoke inhaled by the smoker. Sidestream smoke comes from the lighted end of a cigarette. It has higher concentrations of carcinogens and is more toxic than mainstream smoke. Consequently, exposure to second-hand smoke is dangerous.

The American Lung Association claims that over 41,000 people in the U.S. die from secondhand smoke exposure each year. Children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with heart or breathing problems like asthma or COPD are especially at risk, but nobody is immune. Secondhand smoke contains dangerous chemicals and it can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke in non-smokers.

Secondhand smoke is also linked to many health problems in children and has been linked to sudden infant death syndrome. Children who breathe secondhand smoke are also more likely to have lung problems, ear infections and increased risk of asthma. Sadly, children are most affected by secondhand smoke but least able to avoid it.

Risk of secondhand smoke exposure is high in public places where smoking is still currently allowed like some restaurants, shopping centers, public transportation, parks, and schools. The creation of “no smoking” sections does not work. Ventilation or filtering the air does not protect people either.

We know how to solve illnesses and death caused by secondhand smoke. It is now time to act. We need to support all smoke-free initiatives. The health of our communities and loved ones depend on it.

Danielle Pelini, Boardman

Levy approval paves way for smooth roads in Poland

We would like to thank the residents of Poland Township for passing the 2.03-mill, seven-year levy. This levy will be used for the repaving of most township roads.

By issuing bonds, the project should be completed in 2019. We will work diligently with all involved to complete this project in the best way possible. This project should put Poland Township’s roads in good condition for years to come.

Eric Ungaro, Joanne Wollet, Ed Kempers Poland

Ungaro, Wollet and Kempers are Poland Township trustees.

W. Reserve fire chief thanks many for levy OK

On behalf of the board of trustees and firefighters of the Western Reserve Joint Fire District, I would like to thank all Poland residents who supported our 1-mill additional fire levy.

With the new funding we will work to expand our fire coverage to the eastern portion of the district and to provide back-up emergency medical transport services when a private ambulance provider is not available to transport patients to the hospital.

While the district will remain a volunteer-based Fire Department, we will continue to do our best to deliver professional services to all those in need.

David C. Comstrock, Jr., Poland

David C. Comstock is fire chief of the Western Reserve Joint Fire District.

Parents can act to reduce high infant-mortality rate

Ohio holds a rel- atively higher infant mortality rate than most other states, with almost nine infant deaths occurring per 1,000 live births in 2016 (CDC, 2018). Also in 2016, 16 deaths occurred just in Mahoning County (Ohio Department of Health, 2018).

Furthermore, the U.S. infant mortality rate encompasses a wide range of data, with more than 23,000 infants dying unex-pectedly in 2015. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just over 15 percent of these deaths were attributed to sudden unexpected infant death syndrome. Sudden infant death syndrome is also known as cot or crib death and is defined as an unexplained death of a healthy baby less than 1 year old, which usually occurs during sleep.

However, SUIDS encompasses SIDS, unknown causes, and accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed. The likelihood of the development of SUIDS seems to increase with premature births.

While striving to increase the awareness and knowledge of SUIDS, it is very important to abide by the following pre-cautionary measures to reduce your child’s risk of developing SUIDS: place your baby to sleep on his or her back; have your baby sleep in the same room as you until at least 6 months of age; breastfeed your baby; and offer a pacifier when sleeping, but wait until breastfeeding has been established.

Finally, it is important to realize that purchasing a baby monitor that displays vital signs and other data is not a cure all and tends to give a false sense of security to parents. As the statistics demonstrate, infant mortality remains an astronomical issue not only nationally, but especially locally. By spreading awareness and education to the population, we as a community can endeavor to decrease our infant mortality rate by decreasing the incidence of SUIDS.

Madison Evans, Struthers