Experts talk about how to help prevent suicide

June 09, 2018 12:41 PM

With two high profile suicides in just one week, people everywhere are now talking about a topic long considered taboo. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says there is a stigma that is often associated with mental illness and suicide. 

"We really need to step up and care about those people around us," said Laura Marx, director of the Capital Area Chapter of AFSP.

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Marx has worked for the organization for six years. She says as suicide rates climb we can all be a part of the solution.

"Most people don't want to die, but they just don't know any other way out of their pain in that particular moment," said Marx.

Statistics show 90 percent of people who take their own life had a treatable mental condition at the time they died. The majority go undiagnosed. Marx says 80 percent of people will give a definite warning sign they're considering suicide.

Marx says we should pay close attention to our friends, family, and coworkers and anyone else we have regular interactions with. Key signs they might be in trouble include sudden changes in behavior and habits. Someone might sleep more or less than they normally do, change their eating habits and start consuming more alcohol or drugs. If a person starts to withdraw from normal activities, it could be the result of depression.

"Maybe they look like their having a bad day. It may not be suicide, it may not be about anything but just ask, 'Hey, are you okay? You look a little different today. What's going on? And who doesn't feel better when someone cares about them?" said Marx.

New York has the second lowest suicide rates in the country. Today, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the state is investing $3.5 million in a new prevention program. He released a statement that reads in part:

"This innovative pilot program tailors treatments to the specific needs of individuals and helps bolster our efforts to get people the support they need."

Both Cuomo and Marx stress depression does not discriminate.

"It can affect everybody. It doesn't matter, you know, what type of family they come from or how much money they have. It can affect everybody," said Marx.

Marx says people should be able to offer someone in need the resources needed to get help. The Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Father of son who died by suicide shares story


Jacquie Slater

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