National Suicide Prevention Week sheds light on how to help someone who is struggling

Published: Sep. 11, 2018 at 10:30 PM CDT
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It's National Suicide Prevention Week and September is National Recovery Month.

Every year almost 45,000 people take their own lives in the U.S.

"I think without discussing it, it stays hidden. And with it staying hidden, it's not improving," said Bobbi Gilbert, she and her family lived in Whitewright three years ago when her 17-year-old son Pierce took his life.

At the time, he was battling situational depression.

"If everybody would stand up and share their story and speak up, then more people would be more willing to ask for help and they wouldn't feel like I'm the only one who feels this way," Gilbert said.

Gilbert wrote a book to shed light on suicide.

She said a girl found the book at her high school and reached out saying…

"For the first time in many, many years, I have hope. Because she's been struggling with depression and anxiety for years," Gilbert said.

Rhonda Schroeder is a licensed professional counselor at the Texoma Behavioral Health Center.

"Suicide is an increasing problem in our country," Schroeder said.

Signs like giving away belongings, withdrawing from friends and family, or quitting activities can mean someone is struggling.

"When they stop doing those things, that's a big sign that their depression is getting worse and that they could be contemplating suicide," she said.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the country.

The second for ages 15-34.

Schroeder said there's hope- calling someone to talk, counseling, sometimes medication.

"If you see somebody struggling, ask them if they need to talk," she said.

"The only way we're going to beat this epidemic is if we make it a priority 365 days a year, not just one day or not just one month," Gilbert said.

Experts said if you think a friend or family member is struggling or a danger to themselves or others, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255.