Kenneth Koon, executive director of Armed Forces Mission and a Tyrone native, works in suicide prevention and said he has successfully intervened in more than 600 suicide attempts. Koon said that while not everyone who has suicidal thoughts will show it outwardly, it’s important for others to be aware of what’s going on in others’ lives so they can prevent it.
“We need to be alert to the things going on in people’s lives around us,” Koon said.
The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics told the Fayette Newspapers that in 2015 — the last year statistics were reported — the most suicides nationwide occurred in May. August, March, and July were the next highest.
The National Institute for Mental Health confirmed that in the recent past, more suicides have occurred in warmer months of the year.
Koon is pushing everyone in the community to do their part to ensure the number of suicide attempts in the county doesn’t increase.
“My goal is to train everyone that I can in Fayette County so that we can truly be the safest county in the state of Georgia, if not the world, when it comes to risk of suicide,” Koon said.
Koon said in his experience working with veterans and other at risk members of the community, it doesn’t matter what age or where someone comes from, anyone can potentially be suicidal.
He said it’s important to ask someone if they are suicidal if you might suspect the person is in danger of attempting to take their own life. The conversation should be handled with care, Koon said.
Koon said there is a study that shows that if you successfully intervene from someone attempting suicide, chances are they won’t try again.
“If we intervene, there’s a very strong possibility that they will never ever take their life,” Koon said.
Koon advises those wanting to help to visit nomoresuicide.com. If you or someone you know is seriously considering suicide, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
“It’s really just a matter of conversation, and we’ve got to have the courage to start the conversation,” Koon said.