Suicide on the Rise

Keith Morehouse, Clinical Social Worker
Keith Morehouse, Clinical Social Worker
Don Nicholson, Department of State Health Services
Don Nicholson, Department of State Health Services

Ryan Cody
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, TX - Suicide in our area is becoming a larger problem by the day. And local officials say it is something that we need to begin taking more seriously.

It is the third leading cause of death among youth in the state of Texas, but experts say recently those 70 and above in our area are taking their lives more often than ever before.

Officials from all over the Texas panhandle gathered this afternoon to discuss the pressing issue. "When you consider that we do roughly 300 plus admissions a month. We probably see well over 80 percent of those are people thinking about suicide. Thinking about killing themselves," says Keith Morehouse. A licensed clinical social worker who everyday helps people with suicidal thoughts.

But he can only aid those who reach out for help. "We're in a large town. A city like Amarillo maybe you saw a billboard that says hey if you need help. Call for help. They don't have that access in the smaller communities," says Don Nicholson of the Department of State Health Services.

Nicholson will be relaying tips for those in crisis to Sheriff's and school Counselors in rural area's. "We do try to address that by giving the other professionals in those communities the tools to be able to say hey this person has a problem. Where can I go to get some help?"

Recently Morehouse says there has been an increase in those age 70 and above taking their own lives.

"The trend we are seeing in that group is related to them just being tired. Tired of dealing with their illness. Tired of being cared for."

But regardless of age, Morehouse says it's important never to shrug off a comment about suicide.  It could save a life.