Suicide Prevention Month highlights importance of communication

Updated: Sep. 17, 2020 at 8:56 AM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - September is Suicide Prevention Month with the goal of creating awareness and sharing resources.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States.

The CDC also noted suicide is the second leading cause of death for people 10 to 34 years old, and the fourth among people 35 to 54 years old.

Jason Parsons lost his brother, Shane Parsons, to suicide at the age of 37.

“Everyone around him would kind of just gravitate toward him. He was one of those guys who would give the shirt off his back," Parsons said.

Parsons will never forget May 30, 2019, the day his brother lost a hard-fought battle against depression.

According to the World Health Organization, 800,000 people die to suicide every year, which is one person every 40 seconds.

Right now, a lot of people are struggling emotionally, physically, or mentally and you might not even know it.

Licensed professional counselor Sandy Quast said a big way to help someone is communicating.

“People need people," Quast said. “Isolation obviously is what causes even depression to get even further worsening, so to be able to reach out to someone else.”

For Parsons, his brother is always on his mind.

“I think about you every day. I love him, and I look up to him in so many ways and so many great memories and that’s the way I have to look at it," he said.

Parsons added if you or someone you love is experiencing suicidal thoughts, know there’s always someone to talk to.

The CDC said in 2018, 10.7 million adults had serious thoughts about suicide, while 3.3 million made a plan and 1.4 million attempted it.

Quast said she’s seeing more people with suicidal thoughts. Those thoughts include things like “what’s my purpose” or “does it matter that I’m here anymore?”

But Quast noted while she’s seeing more people with those thoughts, they’re not acting on them, or else she would send them to get treatment.

Some of the signs to look for include:

  • Isolation
  • Giving things away
  • Saying goodbye to friends or family
  • Crying spells

For people going through hard times, Quast said many people are experiencing the same things and it can happen to anyone.

“Fear of the unknown, even as being as successful as some people have been in their businesses, they are worried, they are worried a lot," she said. “We saw that with the stock market. The stock market crashed. A lot of suicides happened because people who had more suddenly didn’t have more, so again it’s hitting all different age groups in all different income levels in a different way. But it definitely makes a feeling of being less in control so it gives them a lot of fear”

If you’re thinking about suicide, call 800-273-8255.

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