Suicide prevention resources in north Alabama

(WAFF) - According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death and it's an increasing problem with 45,000 deaths in 2016. WAFF 48 News is looking into what resources are available to help people who might be contemplating suicide in north Alabama.

"It's important to ask the question are you thinking of suicide if the answer is yes it's important to listen to their story of what brought them to that decision," said Crisis Services of North Alabama volunteer coordinator Heather Kilgore.

Crisis Services official said they hear about suicide daily. Signs to watch out for in a friend, coworker or family member who might be thinking about suicide are lack of interest in activities they once were interested in, giving away possessions, preoccupation with death, and risky behavior like reckless driving or excessive consumption of alcohol and drugs. Kilgore said if you notice these warning signs it's an invitation to ask them if they're thinking about suicide.

"We need to think about our community and to make it a suicide safer community, and one way to do that is to have open dialogue about suicide to sort of remove the stigma and taboo associated with death in general but especially suicide death," Kilgore added.

She said when you're listening to a person's story you'll want to find out if the person has a plan and if they are able to carry out the plan.

"One of the key elements you are looking for is a connection to life it could be anything from a pet to a hobby one positive thing about a person reaching out to help who is thinking about suicide is that it's showing that a part of them wants to live," Kilgore explained.

The Crisis Center helpline answers hundreds of calls about suicide monthly. They can refer them to the help they need like a hospital, doctor or psychiatrist.

"Maybe they don't want their life to end so much as that they want their emotional pain that they are experiencing to end," Kilgore said.

There are organizations out there to help those struggling with suicide like SPEAK (Suicide. Prevention. Empowerment. Awareness. Knowledge.) at 256-541-5131, Crisis Services 24/7 helpline at 256-216-1000 and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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