AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - First, let me say. I'm not an expert on this topic and I'm not sure how to advance our thought on this topic, but it needs to be discussed.
Media outlets have recently been filled with reports of two celebrity suicides and the discussion of their mental health.
Nationally and locally, death by suicide is an increasing concern. It was before the media coverage and will likely be after the stories fade away.
Reporters and anchors can't fix it, but we as individuals can advance our thoughts on the topic.
For today's conversation, I will group suicide, depression and anxiety into a similar category of thought.
We typically don't report suicides unless they involve a public figure or happen in a public place. Respectfully, we don't want to glorify the act or make it seem like a legitimate solution to issues that a person is facing.
In 2015, the latest local numbers available, the suicide rates in Potter and Randall counties were much higher than the Texas rate. The research shows Potter's rate down slightly but Randall's up sharply.
Nationally, it was the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. about 45,000 people killed themselves in 2016. That's twice the number killed by someone else.
Suicide can be a result, for many that suffer from depression, high anxiety and isolationism. In today's world, the stigma may be going down and the understanding increased, but it is time for action.
Research shows intervention and treatment can help. There's a local version of the Okay to Say program that encourages people to talk about these issues openly with each other. This program applies to a broad range of struggles including suicidal thoughts and depression in general.
Our perspective is that on a personal level, these issues need to be addressed as early and as consistently as possible, and an acceptance of their reality must exist within you if you are struggling and with the people you reach out to in a time of need.
Whether it's you, a loved one or a friend, there's help by reaching out to those around you, by going to okaytosay.org. or calling The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.