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Saying these words could help someone who is contemplating suicide

Joel Bissell/Joel Bissell |
Kalamazoo Gazette
Maricela Alcala, chief executive officer of Gryphon Place, poses for a portrait in Kalamazoo County, Michigan on Monday April 11, 2022. Gryphon Place is agency that provides crisis and counseling services, they also provided a 24/7 helpline. (Joel Bissell | Joel Bissell |

This story is the latest from the Southwest Michigan Journalism Collaborative's Mental Wellness Project

More than 15,000 Michiganders died by suicide over the past decade, include 345 in Kalamazoo County. While rates are highest among middle-age and older men, suicides account for more than 20% of deaths among ages 15 to 24.

Studies indicate 90% of people who die by suicide have an underlying — and potentially treatable — mental health condition.

Regardless of age, experts say that asking someone directly, “Are you thinking of killing yourself?” can be effective at identifying someone at risk for suicide, offering the opportunity to steer them to professional help.

Find this story from MLive/Kalamazoo

This story is part of the Mental Wellness Project, a solutions-oriented journalism initiative covering mental health issues in southwest Michigan, created by the Southwest Michigan Journalism Collaborative. SWMJC is a group of 13 regional organizations dedicated to strengthening local journalism. For more info visit