Wednesday afternoon, March 12, shortly after two p.m. Seward Emergency 911 received a call requesting an officer and ambulance for a man with a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Washington Street. The man was taken to Providence Seward Medical & Care Center, and was pronounced dead. His was probably the third suicide in Seward in 2014. Police confirmed that this was an older gentleman but no name or age has been released for the victim by the Seward Police Department to date. The first two were young men still in their teens.
Ninety- percent of those who commit suicide suffer from anxiety, depression, or other kinds of mental health issues, according to state suicide-prevention task force experts. Often their conditions are undiagnosed. Many can be helped with different forms of therapy or drugs, or even just individuals who care about them such as mentors, teachers, trusted pastors, or friends. That’s why suicide is considered one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in the U.S.
On the Kenai Peninsula, 66 residents took their lives between 2007 -2011, including 49 males and 17 females. In Alaska, 761 residents took their lives over the same period, according to the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics.
Typical warning signs are people can act depressed, or suddenly become more cheerful following a depressed period. They may talk about being burden to others, they may start disconnecting from their friends, family, hobbies, or begin giving away their possessions. They may become sleepless, show changes in behavior, purchase a weapon, change their will, donate their organs, or turn to drugs or alcohol.
Where to call for help or advice:
SeaView Community Center’s 24-hour Crisis Line is 224-3027
Careline, Alaska’s statewide suicide prevention hotline is 877-266-HELP (4357), text 4help to 839863 Tues-Saturdays 3-11 p.m.