2013-06-26 / Front Page

Rash of Suicides Vexes Philipstown

By Tim Greco

There has been an alarming rise in the number of Philipstown residents taking their own lives. Authorities report that four people in their 20s and 30s have taken their own lives within about a month’s span.

In Putnam County in 2012 and the year before, nine people killed themselves, up from five people in both 2008 and 2009.

The key to helping a person who is suicidal is to be aware of the signs of depression and despondency, counselors said.

Dr. Kenneth Glatt , Dutchess County director of Mental Hygiene, noted that most suicides take place in spring and early summer: “It’s the season of the year that more people kill themselves than any other season.”

Dr. Glatt also pointed to a recent study that links spring suicides with inflammation and a spike in tree pollen; he believes there is some correlation.

Dr. Glatt explained that “winter is the time with the lowest suicides,” and dispelled the myth that holiday time is when the most suicides occur. “The reality is, from Dec. 1 to Mar. 31 is the season of the year when the fewest suicides happen.”

Another myth is that people usually don’t talk about killing themselves.“The reality is 80 percent who do it, talk about it,” he said.

“You may hear something like ‘it would be better off for everyone if I were dead.’ The key is to listen to what the person is saying,” he said.

“ Ask them how they are doing,” he suggested. “You seem pretty despondent, are you thinking about harming yourself?” For some people, it’s a relief to be able to talk about it and may give the person a sense that people care.

“When one is suicidal, one has tunnel vision and does not see the possibility of feeling better again or the feeling of being overwhelmed.”

Also, drugs and alcohol can often play a part in some suicidal thoughts and tendencies.

If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal, immediately call the crisis hot line at 845- 225-1222 or 845-485 9700, 24 hours a day. You can also call your local clergy for counseling or for a referral.

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