In 1999, approximately 30,000 people in the United States committed suicide. As a matter of fact, suicide is the eleventh leading cause of death. Contact Lubbock, a local crisis hotline, gets about 30,000 calls from across the South Plains a year. But there are signs you can look for to help bring these numbers down.
According to the Center for Disease Control, males are four times more likely to die from suicide, but females are more likely to attempt suicide. The numbers are staggering, but the effect suicide has on others is worse.
Two weeks ago, 49-year-old Franklin Leaton took his life by jumping off the U.S. 84 overpass onto I-27. According to witnesses, he parked his car on the bridge, got out and jumped. His decision shocked his family, leaving them with many unanswered questions, and for his son Sean, regrets.
"To me it's a devastation of course but we have to deal with it as a loss, we can't just have two look past it and look through it, it's going to be hard because its a big loss to deal with", Sean Leaton said.
Sean says he feels he's in charge of the family now, and plans to make his dad proud. He says there nothing is worth taking your life over. "Don't look at money problems, money is just an aspect, just an issue nothing could replace what I've lost, money couldn't do it, look past that."
There are also many places you can turn, for questions and answers. Contact Lubbock is a 24 hour, seven day a week crisis center. They have trained counselors on hand to help anyone dealing with anything.
"The thing about suicide is that its not one particular social class or one gender or one age or one particular circumstance, it could happen to anyone for any number of reasons", Tobyn Leigh, Associate Director of Fundraising with Contact Lubbock said.
Tobyn Leigh, of Contact Lubbock says it's important to get involved in people's lives and ask questions, that way you'll always know what's going on and what their dealing with.
"Everyone in a persons circle is affected when they chose to take their own life, from people at work, to people in your neighborhood, in your church and of course family members its a rippling effect", Leigh said.
There are signs you can look for... depression or someone mentioning their depressed. If you notice a change in someone's social life, eating or sleeping habits. If a person has suffered a recent loss, or mentions suicide.
These are just a few of the signs, but according to Contact Lubbock, the best thing you can do is be aware.
If you need someone to talk to or know someone who does, you can reach help at Contact Lubbock 24 hours a day at (806) 765-8393 or call toll free 1-800-SUICIDE.