World suicide prevention day brings awareness to an epidemic - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

World suicide prevention day brings awareness to an epidemic

AMARILLO, TX- Monday was "World Suicide Prevention Day," a time when crisis centers try and bring awareness to curb a growing epidemic.

Right now, the U.S. is seeing increased suicide rates not just among teens, but war veterans.

"Veterans in crisis and suicide are becoming a bigger issue and we're wanting people to be more alert," Rosalinda Barrera with the Amarillo VA's suicide prevention team said.

Suicide is not something we think about until it's often too late. Over than past six years, suicides among service men and women have risen more than 35-percent.

To help bring down that trend, Barrera is part of a three person task force designated to helping war vets when they've hit rock bottom.

"Having a suicide prevention team let's them know that there is somebody there to help them right when they need it," Barrera said.

From dealing with veterans who have mild stress and depression to anyone with more severe problems such as PTSD, Barrera says she's seen it all.

"We might see someone who is having issues at home or job stress that just might need someone to talk to," she said. "We also might come and talk to someone who's pulled over on the side of the road with a gun in their lap and thinking about taking their life."

Row Bowen is the executive director of the Hope and Healing Place, an organization helping family members and friends deal with the loss of a loved one.

"Most of the individuals we deal with (surviving families) are dealing with an individual who took their life because they saw no other option," he said. "They saw pain and the only way to exit was through taking their life."

It's estimated 30,000 people commit suicide each year. 

20-percent of that population involves veterans.

It's a percentage the VA says could be greatly reduced if only people knew about the resources they have available to them.

For veterans needing assistance or counseling, visit or call 1-800-273-8255 and press option 1.

Teens and adults needing assistance coping with stress and depression involving suicidal thoughts should call 1(800) 273.8255.


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