Dear Editor: Thank you for the informative article about our Madison County coroner, Coach Julie Harrison, and the services her office provides to our community. I have had to use their services several times for unusual situations and found Coach Harrison and Gerald Kemp (her deputy assistant) to be competent, professional and caring. The article gave us all a glimpse into the unpredictable stresses and traumas that are simply part of the job.

One particular part that stood out for me was the number of suicides in Madison County from January 2018 until present – 16. And of that number, 15 were by gunshot, the other by hanging. The typical conversation about guns focuses on guns as protection for the family. But for 15 families in Madison County, guns served as the way for their son, daughter, mother, or father to end their own life.

Most gun owners often do not even think of the possibility that their gun could be used by someone in their own family to end their life. Let us not be afraid to acknowledge this possibility and take steps to address it. In any home where someone has expressed suicidal thoughts or has attempted suicide, the home needs to be made safe by removing all harmful items (pills, poison, ropes, knives, guns, etc).

We do not want any more suicides in Madison County. If you are feeling sad and wanting to hurt yourself, please call 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741. Reach out to someone you know — a friend, a church, someone at school or work. People do care and want you to live a better life.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Drago

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)

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