Perhaps no form of death leaves as many unanswered questions as a suicide. And perhaps nothing is more chilling for a community than to see suicide becoming a trend, to see people buying into the logic that results in self killing.

If suicide has affected one family, it has affected too many. But locally, there have been several recent teen suicides recently, which was what motivated the DeWitt Observer and the DeWitt Community Hospital Foundation to sponsor a panel discussion about the issues and, most importantly, to analyze how future tragedies can be prevented.

The organizers, panelists and 75 attendees gave this community a tremendous gift. Recognizing how prominent suicide is among teens — it’s the second leading cause of death behind auto accidents — they took steps to do the one thing known to help reduce the tragedies: Talking about it.

Without glorifying any one person or cause, the panelists and attendees were able to have a frank discussion about very real, serious issues. It is clear, based on recent trends and attendance that night, that this is something the community needed. Perhaps, as some participants suggested, a more permanent group can be established, one that will serve as a support group for families dealing with depression or suicide.

Too often our desire is to turn away from that which we find unpleasant. But on one night in DeWitt, people faced a horrible reality. Hopefully shedding light on the topic will reduce its hold over our communities. Just as one suicide is too many, one life saved is a precious gift.