Death of Actor Brings Suicide Awareness to Forefront

By Katie Hargitt

Published 08/12 2014 03:11PM

Updated 08/12 2014 07:21PM

Officials confirmed Tuesday that Robin Williams took his own life. The actor hanged himself. He became one of the thousands of Americans who take that desperate step each year.

Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. That's up from two years ago when it was the eleventh leading cause of death. 

Across every race, every economic class and every generation, depression and suicide don't discriminate.

"There are no certain demographics that we can pinpoint to say this is the highest risk of suicide," Dr. Jennifer Hutchens, a psychologist, says.

What we do know is those who abuse drugs are six times more likely to commit suicide, and veterans run a higher risk than civilians.

"It's not necessarily a mental health issue but it's an overall health issue that requires partnership and integration between multiple services," Hutchens says.

More than 70 percent of people who attempt suicide have told someone about their intent. Experts say one of the most important factor in suicide prevention is reaching out to those close to you.

"If you're aware of someone that is very depressed, don't hesitate to ask them if they're having suicidal thoughts. It won't give them the idea but it let's them know they can talk about it," says Janet McBride, a counselor at FSA.

"That is very much both a protective factor and a factor to get that person, that individual help," said Hutchens.

If you need immediate help, there are resources available.

Locally, the Hamilton Center Hotline is available 24/7: 800-742-0787

Anywhere in the United States you can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK(8255)
If you believe someone close to you is considering suicide look for signs including: talking or writing about death, saying there's no reason to live, seeking out means to end one's life, isolating yourself from family or friends.

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