Lubbock groups urge awareness, remembrance as study shows rural suicides increasing

KCBD Evening Newscast 6 p.m. Suicide Prevention week 9/09/2019

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - As National Suicide Prevention Week begins, a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports the number of suicides in rural America is increasing. Lubbock prevention advocates are reaching out to those who may be hurting and urging the public to participate in ways to stop the increase.

“In 2012, I lost two friends and since then I’ve lost two more,” Randa McCrary said. “So, when it happened then, I said I just want to make a difference.”

McCrary has organized a Candlelight Service at Emerge Lubbock, 8501 Avenue P. It will be Saturday, September 14 at 7:00 p.m. It will be the second year the service will ensure those lost to suicide are properly remembered.

“We can remember those and also let those know that are actually struggling with things like that, we can let them know there’s hope and resources out there to actually help,” McCrary said.

University of Ohio researchers recently studied suicide trajectories for people age 25 to 64 in counties across the United States. During years from 1999 to 2016, they found the rate increasing in all areas but a more rapid increase in rural counties. Contributing factors, according to the study, were higher deprivation, higher social fragmentation, higher density of gun shops, and a higher percentage of veterans and who were uninsured.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention funds research, provides educational programs and advocates for legislative policies about mental health and suicide. Ann Casiraghi is the Lubbock area lead volunteer. She says suicide is a complex issue but can be prevented.

“The key is to reach out for help and to ask for help,” She said. “Sometimes you may reach out and ask for help and don’t get help but you have to keep reaching out and keep talking to someone about it.”

She also encourages everyone to watch for warning signs of suicide in friends, family and others. The most common condition is depression.

AFSP will host the Out of the Darkness Walk in Lubbock on Sunday, September 15 at noon at Texas Tech University’s Frazier Alumni Pavilion.

Texas Tech University’s RISE organization is hosting a Suicide Prevention Week. The first event Monday was a Mental Health Resource Fair to take away the stigma of discussing mental health and to show students what resources are available.

“Our goal is to get information, tools and resources out to individuals so they can ideally make decisions that make them their best self,” Program Manager for Health and Wellness Elena Sanchez said. “We believe in order to stop suicide we increase conversations about mental health and emotional health."

Resources for those struggling with suicide include the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1800-273-TALK (8255). You can also text TALK to 741741. Call 911 for emergencies.

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