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Suicide affects more than one person

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Amarillo, TX - Suicide is an increasing problem in the panhandle. Within the last year, 35 teenage attempted suicides were reported.

We spoke with a family affected by suicide to learn more on how suicide affects more than one individual.

Each day there is an average of seven deaths by suicide in the state of Texas.

It's the second leading cause of death for people ages 25 to 34 and third for 15 to 24, and has become an ever growing issue.

Suicide alters the lives of more than just one person. Genna Jones has felt the effects of suicide not once in her life, but twice. The incident that impacts her the most is her aunt, who is thankfully still here today.

"At first my mom told us that it was a brain injury. My mom was all sad and was in bed for two days, and she was sad and stuff. She said it was a brain injury. But then when we were going to Houston, my mom was like your aunt tried to commit suicide. I was like, with her I didn't know that she would do that. She was all happy and stuff," Jones says.

But there are signs that could give you a warning.

"Things we look for when we are assessing whether someone is at risk is if they've had a change in their behavior. Change in their eating habits, their sleeping habits. Someone that used to have normal patterns and that has gone to extremes such as eating a lot, not eating enough. Someone that used to have normal sleeping habits is now sleeping all the time which could be signs of depression, or they're not sleeping at all," Amy Hord with the Panhandle Suicide Prevention Coalition says.

Genna's aunt Allison now lives with a brain injury that has left her having to learn how to walk again and affected her memory.

"It brings a lot of drama into the family because everyone is always worried about her. No one has time for them because everyone is just worried about her," Jones says.

But, Genna does something to remind herself she is never alone.

"To write love on your arms, it's like your not alone in your situation and stuff. For me that's what it means," Jones says.

"Your life is forever changed," Jones says.

The Hope & Healing Place is there for those whose lives have been turned upside down.

"The clock stops. Life has changed. Your calendar, what you had planned next week, everything is disrupted. A grief center can be so helpful. We can help separate that out, slow the pace down, and provide the kind of support for that family to talk to each other even during this stressful difficult time," Roy Bowen, executive director for The Hope & Healing Place says.

Bowen says this has been a trend that needs to stop.

"I do not need my phone to ring over one more teen suicide," Bowen says.

The common theme from everyone we spoke with was "It does get better. You are worth living for."

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