Suicide Prevention Week raises awareness

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - This week is National Suicide Prevention Week.

One person dies by suicide every 13 minutes, amounting to nearly 40 thousand deaths per year, according to the CDC in 2011. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in young adults between the ages of 15 and 24.

Recognizing the signs of depression is vital and could save a life. Encourage the individual to seek help if you notice changes in behavior, such as eating and sleeping habits. Other signs include isolation or statements such as, "I just can't handle this. I can't do it anymore. I want this all to end."

"There might be some signs and symptoms there, but it takes you to an uncomfortable place as a family member or friend," said April L. Estill, clinical social worker and counselor at the University of Southern Mississippi. "The fear, I think, is 'What if I ask the question:are you thinking of suicide? and the answer is yes. What do I do now?'"

If the answer is yes, go to the person immediately and reassure them that you will not leave. Then, contact a professional, a crisis hotline, or 9-1-1. Stay with the person until help arrives.

"It is a permanent solution to a temporary problem," explained Estill. "It's just they've reached the point where they cannot fathom any other way. There's complete hopelessness and complete helplessness. And if there's somebody there that can give them just a glimmer of something to hold onto, they're gonna hold onto it."

If you or someone you know needs help or simply wants to talk, contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)