Help Prevent the Tenth Most Common Killer
That makes it the Number Ten Killer in Florida.
Monday is World Suicide Prevention Day. Loved ones and professionals are using to recognition to try to take suicide off the list of taboo subjects to talk about in society.
"Four and a half years ago I was at the Spring Arts Festival and I got a call that changed my life," says Judy Bousquet.
It was a call telling her that her 27- year old son Brett had killed himself. He was married and a Georgia police officer.
"He wanted to help people but he didn't know how to reach out for help when he was going through a difficult time," says Bousquet.
His death put Bousquet in a funk... but she got through it by telling her son's story to keep others from doing the same thing.
Doctor Marshall Knudson is on the Governor's newly created Suicide Prevention Coordinating Council with Bousquet. Knudson is also the Director of the Alachua County Crisis Center. He says suicide remains a taboo subject that people cannot openly talk about. But with twice as many suicides as homicides in Florida, it's all too common.
"Everybody knows people who have thought about suicide," says Knudson. "You just don't know who they are."
After years of steady decreases, the latest data from the Center for Disease Control shows a spike in the number of suicides in girls ages 10 to 19 and boys aged 15-19. Knudson says there's no easy fix, but the first step is to acknowledge that anyone could be suicidal and if you are worried about a loved one, do something about it.
"The biggest and simplest warning sign is that most suicidal people communicate the fact that they are thinking about suicide," says Knudson.
Something Judy says was there, she just didn't know to look for it.
"If I knew now what I knew then, I would have asked, 'Are you thinking about committing suicide?'," says Bousquet.
She hopes an event like Suicide Prevention Day gives people the reminder to not be afraid to ask that question.
If you or someone you is thinking about suicide, there is help available. All of the hotlines are available twenty four hours a day, seven days a week.
In Ocala, the centers has a suicide hotline, the phone number is (352) 629-9595.
The Alachua County Crisis Center has a suicide hotline in Gainesville. The phone number is (352) 264-6789.
There is also two national hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-273-TALK.
By Dan Breitwieser, WCJB TV20 News
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