NBC12 Viewpoint: Suicide is still a national epidemic

By: Kym Grinnage - email

Suicide is not one of those subjects that we like to talk about. It's uncomfortable, it can be painful and it's really not a subject that we know enough about.

Now is the time to change that way of thinking.

When a popular person or celebrity takes their own life, suicide takes a front seat in our conversations and in the media. Because we don't talk about it, doesn't mean that it's not happening - it is!

Here are some statistics to help drive the point home:

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America
  • Each year almost 45,000 people die by suicide
  • For every suicide, there are 25 attempts
  • On average there are 123 suicides per day

And the problem is not getting better, it's getting worse. The rate among young girls ages 15-19 is at a 40-year high.

So how can you help? First, it is important to lift the stigma about having the conversation about depression, bullying and mental health disorders.

It is important to pay attention to our friends, family and loved ones when there is a change in behavior. And when you suspect that something is wrong seek help from a professional.

There are many resources available to you and here are just a few:

  • Refer someone at risk to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800- 273-TALK
  • Seek guidance at The Suicide Prevention Resource Center: sprc.org
  • And for teens, here’s resource that may be able to help: The Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation

Most importantly, reach out to someone who may appear to be in crisis.

I will never forget the feeling I had, when I heard that my cousin Donna had taken her life as a young woman. I wish I had been more in touch.

Don't have regrets.