Fort Wayne, IN – August 10, 2020 – Today Northeast Indiana is facing a perfect storm. The stress and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic—coping with illness, the uncertainties of returning to school, job changes and/or loss—have left many people feeling isolated and alone, unable to imagine a better day. In addition, our national conversation on civil rights is bringing generations of racial trauma to the surface, especially for people of color.

In June of this year, 25,498 Americans reported thinking of suicide or self-harm, with 14,607 reporting these thoughts nearly every day, according to voluntary screenings conducted by Mental Health America across the nation.

This is an epidemic within the pandemic that we have the power to combat. Understanding how to recognize the signs of suicide and how to talk about a seemingly unmentionable subject are the first steps.

Asking someone if they are considering suicide will not put the idea of killing themselves in their head. If someone is in a state of mental or emotional distress, they may already be thinking about suicide. Providing an opportunity for that person to talk about what they are feeling is the important first step. You can start by following this simple advice from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

Have an honest conversation

  1. Talk to them in private
  2. Listen to their story
  3. Tell them you care about them
  4. Ask directly if they are thinking about suicide
  5. Encourage them to seek treatment or contact their doctor or therapist
  6. Avoid debating the value of life, minimizing their problems or giving advice

If a person says they are considering suicide

  • Take the person seriously
  • Stay with them
  • Help them remove lethal means
  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
  • Text TALK to 741741 to text with a trained crisis counselor from the Crisis Text Line for free, 24/7
  • Escort them to mental health services or an emergency room

People who are thinking about suicide don’t want to die, they just want to end the pain. Using the guidelines above, you can help stop the pain and save a life.

NOTE: MHANI staff is available to media outlets for interviews pertaining to suicide and suicide prevention. Please contact Steve Linsenmayer at (260) 417-3393 or



 Mental Health America of Northeast Indiana (MHANI) is making this release in response to a serious community health threat. Please find resources below that might be of use in future coverage of suicide.


AFSP information for editors and reporters:

The latest statistics on suicide, and guidance for journalists on how to report safely and accurately about suicide.

Top 10 Tips for Reporting on Suicide


Helpful resources for media (or social media) to share:

Please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

Or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

Established in 1987, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a voluntary health organization that gives those affected by suicide a nationwide community empowered by research, education and advocacy to take action against this leading cause of death. A solid resource overall, their following links address specific areas of concern when dealing with suicide.

I’m having thoughts of Suicide

I’ve lost someone

What to do when someone is at risk

After an attempt

Find a mental health professional


We the Living is a Fort Wayne peer-based support group for those that have lost loved ones to suicide that meets 7-9 PM on the 2nd Wednesday of every month at Mental Health America Northeast Indiana, 3106 Lake Ave, Fort Wayne, IN 46805. There are no costs to attend and all discussions are confidential.