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Presentation to focus on suicide prevention

"When we lost Kevin, my involvement specifically in suicide evolved into what it's become today," he said.

Barr discussed the enormous power that a person has to terminate his or her own life, and he emphasized how understanding that power is vital to preventing suicide.

"It's just a chilling, chilling thought," he said.

Another hope Barr has is to address some common misconceptions about suicide, such as its a problem that only affects kids. He said of the 30,000 suicides each year, 5,500 are youths, while 25,500 were adults, and the highest demographic were adults 85 and older.

At one point, Barr sat on a town youth suicide committee, where he spoke with a member of the senior service committee who told him that older people are toward the end of their lives and people should not be focused on them. This was disturbing to Barr.

"Our seniors are at a wicked risk," he said, adding he grew curious about why that's the case.

"Ninety percent of suicide there's an identifiable mental health issue," Barr said.

He said he also wants to address the strange, counterintuitive nature of suicide. He said it is human nature to avoid death, but those who commit suicide willingly move toward it, and that is a phenomena that must be understood.

"We're pretty tough characters. We have coping mechanisms," he said. "What is it about this one group that we lose?"

He said the emotional pain that those who are suicidal are feeling can be so enormous sometimes that it's almost incomprehensible.

For some, it's a matter of convincing themselves that they are not wanted.

"If you dwell upon the thought that the world would be better off without me, then a signal of distress resounds, saying 'I need help,'" Barr said.

Sometimes, though, those people do not seek help, and those are often the victims of suicide, he said.

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