SALT LAKE CITY – Awareness and education are the focus of National Suicide Prevention Week in Utah and across the nation.
Recognizing and treating depression are major steps toward preventing suicides, said Lisa Brattain, spokeswoman for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
The latest statistics from the <a href=”http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6217a1.htm” target=”_blank”>Centers for Disease Control and Prevention</a> show suicide rates have been on an upward trend since 1999. Brattain said depression, like other diseases, can be treated.
“An illness is an illness, and depression is treatable, and suicide is preventable,” she said. “We just need to be armed with the right tools to do that.”
Brattain lost her son Kurt to suicide when he was 19 and a college freshman.
An educational DVD set called “More than Sad” is available free to schools from Brattain’s organization. She said peers often notice signs of suicide before family members do, and they need to know what to do. More information is available at <a href=”http://www.morethansad.org” target=”parent”>morethansad.org</a>.
When people withdraw from friends or start trying to give away prized possessions, Brattain said, it should be cause for alarm.
“Knowing that those kinds of things, although they may be subtle, you know for most people, could be pretty significant warning signs,” she said.
For 24/7 crisis counseling, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-8255.
The CDC report is online at <a href=”http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6217a1.htm” target=”parent”>cdc.gov</a>.