TYLER, Texas (KETK)- September is National Suicide Prevention Month. The designation began in 2008 as an effort to destigmatize having conversations about this issue.
Sandra Brazil-Hamilton, with the National Alliance of Mental Health (NAMI) in Tyler, said suicide is a big concern for East Texas.
“Unfortunately, right here in East Texas, we have the very sad note of being the highest rate of suicide of anywhere else in Texas,” mentioned Brazil-Hamilton.
According to the CDC, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and the reason for nearly 48,000 deaths in 2019.
Tammy Weppelman, a suicide prevention coordinator for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, stated that suicide is more common in males than females.
“Suicide is the second leading cause of death for individuals ages 10-24, but suicide does affect everybody all ages, all races, and all genders,” said Weppelman.
Changes in behavior are common signs to look out for in someone who might be suicidal. This means a person might be sleeping more than usual, not getting enough sleep at night, or experiencing noticeable changes in appetite.
“One of the first things we look for is when people start feeling sick, not well, they want to isolate, and they don’t want to do what they used to do. They don’t enjoy what they used to. They have no interest in things they did at one time. They pull away from their friends,” said Brazil-Hamilton.
If someone is withdrawing from friends and family, then this could also be an important sign.
“One (sign) that not a lot of people realize is having a sudden change in mood. That can be somebody who is suddenly sad and depressed or someone who is sad and depressed and suddenly has a more elevated mood than they had previously,” said Weppelman.
It is important for people to be aware of the signs and willing to talk about suicide. Sometimes, knowing what to look out for can save someone’s life.
“Reach out to someone because life is precious and people are precious,” said Brazil-Hamilton.
If you or someone you know needs support, you may call the following centers.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 or Use the online Lifeline Crisis Chat.
You can also connect 24/7 to a crisis counselor by texting the Crisis Text Line. Text HOME to 741741.
You may call the the National Alliance of Mental Health Helpline at 800-950-NAMI Or in a crisis, text “NAMI” to 741741.
For more information on mental illness, click here.
To find behavioral health treatment services, click here.
You can also find a counselor of therapist by clicking here.