It's time to talk about suicide, one York County organization says.
That's why the York County Suicide Prevention Coalition will hold two events to commemorate next week's National Suicide Prevention Week.
The group will work to raise awareness through a free screening of 1960's Academy Award-nominated film "Tunes of Glory" on Sunday, as well as its sixth annual conference on Thursday.
The events are timely. In York County, there have been 45 suicides so far this year, compared to last year's 58, said Cindy Richard, chairwoman and founder of the coalition.
"There's a stigma against talking about suicide," she said. "And right now, suicide in York County is ridiculously high."
Talk about it: The age range for suicides in the county in the last couple of years is 17 to 92, Richard said.
"It's on the rise," she said. "It's a coping skill for a lot of people in York County -- and it's affecting our young."
The key to stopping the trend is simple, she said: We need to talk about it.
"We just need to cut the stigma of suicide and let people know they're not alone," Richard said.
She said some people subscribe to the myth that talking about it will lead to more deaths. But in fact, she said, the more you talk about it, the more it prevents people from doing it.
"If you had a broken leg, you'd talk about it," she said. "Everyone needs to be using the word. Everyone needs to be talking about it."
The survivors: The upcoming conference features a survivor panel. Survivors are not those who tried to take their lives and fail; they're the family and friends who are left behind, Richard said.
For that reason, each person -- young, old, rich or poor -- could benefit from attending the coalition's events, she said.
"It's affected a lot of people in York County," Richard said. "Suicide doesn't have any boundaries."
But there is hope in education and awareness about the issue, she said, and it's possible for both suicidal people and survivors to overcome the incredible pain they have and start living again.
"We need to let people know that it's OK to talk about it," Richard said. "We want people to understand that this is a permanent solution to a temporary problem."