Experts discuss depression and suicide prevention

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Oklahoma's suicide rate has increased by 30 percent since 1999.

The topic has returned to the spotlight after celebrities Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain took their lives last week.

Reverend Jacklyn McNeil is a counselor at Cornerstone Clinical Services and she said suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. The primary goal is to help people understand that it is not an option that you want to take in order to solve a problem.

Suicide is not just a problem that affects celebrities, teens, and adults, but is also affects roughly 20 people in the military and veterans across the United States every day. Simply being there and talking to someone is one of the way to prevent it from happening.

Reverend McNeil said there are several risks including loss of a loved one or pet, social connections and job that could lead to depression or suicidal thoughts.

"Sometimes depression can cause you to feel like there is no hope, you can feel as if there is nothing to do to pick yourself up and feeling that without any coping skills will perpetuate you into a feeling of suicide. Being bipolar is another example, people just become so manic or so depressed that they will eventually have suicidal thoughts," said McNeil.

There are signs that you could look for when it comes to getting people help.

"People withdraw, people will start to give their possessions away and they will start to feel as if no body wants me around them or my life is meaningless. Or the other case is that they don't say anything and that's the most devastating," said McNeil.

Every 31 seconds someone in the United States tries to take their lives and every 12 minutes someone dies from suicide. But there are ways to get help like calling the national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text "CONNECT" to 741741.

"Someone will be there to talk to you, there are people at counseling centers all over town that want to help. You can go the ER, the ER is there for an emergency situation where you think there is no answer and you can go there and find someone that is willing to listen. You can call a pastor on the telephone or you can call a friend somebody will listen all you have to do is reach out,"said McNeil.

Reverend McNeil said when someone takes their life not only does it affect their family but everyone around them.

"Probably one of the most devastating thing that can ever happen because the family is left to deal with the problems the person left and so no matter what the problem is they have to deal with the guilt, shame, regrets of what if I would have been there or what if I could have done something what if I could have said something and so you play the what if game and you end up feeling totally helpless," said McNeil.

When it comes to dealing with someone who is depressed and having suicidal thoughts McNeil said offer HOPE.

"H" stands for honest confrontation. Ask someone if they need help.
"O" stands for offering services. Tell them about their options when it comes to getting help.
"P" stands for presenting a contract. Make sure they give you their word that they will not take their life.
"E" stands for Enlist. Call 911 or take the person to the Emergency room for help.

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