I wanna know: Preventing suicide - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

I Wanna Know: Preventing suicide

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

Those who work to prevent suicide describe it as a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

September is Suicide Prevention Month and a time many hope to increase public awareness about the heartbreaking loss of life.

"I wanna know if one of my friends come and tells me that they want to do suicide, what should I do?," said Halie Olmsted.

For Halie, the tragedy of teen suicide hit close to home when a family friend's daughter took her own life.

"It's happened before and I don't want it to happen again, so if I can, I want to try and prevent it," said Halie.  

Cyndi Leger's best friend lost her 15-year-old daughter, Grace, to suicide a little more than a year ago. She said the family's suffering has been unimaginable.

"She (Grace) was a beautiful young woman, young lady. She was in honors classes. She was popular. She was the vice president of her class. She had tons of friends. She had it all on the outside world. But something in the  last few months before her death, in her inside world, just didn't make sense to her. And she couldn't cope with whatever it was," said Leger.  

Leger wants to increase awareness about suicide -- and help dispel some of the myths. She said parents need to educate themselves.

"What are the facts about suicide and what are the myths? What are the facts about mental illness? Mental illness is not a weakness, it's not self inflicted, you can't just snap out of it. It doesn't mean you need a straight jacket and mind numbing medication. You just need a little help. You need to learn some skills to cope with what you have to deal with," said Leger.

One misconception is that those who attempt suicide are just trying to get attention.

"The statistics are that 37 percent of those who try once succeed the second time. So, it's not about getting attention. It's a cry for help," said Leger.

Ernest Fruge directs Positive Connections Academic and Treatment Center for the Calcasieu School Board. He said students who become aware of a friend thinking about suicide need to share it with a trusted adult.

"I know that sometimes friends will tell you things in confidence but when it comes to suicide, that's something we really need to take seriously and know that it's not a violation of their trust. It's to keep them safe and you really need to get them to a place of safety and that's probably connecting with some of the resources that you might have available in the schools. That could be a teacher, a trusted teacher, it could be a counselor, the principal, assistant principal. Research shows a lot of students are closely aligned to their coaches in the schools. Talk to someone they can trust to get their friend to a place of safety," said Fruge.

Fruge said suicide is the second leading cause of death for those between 10 and 24 in America.  

To learn more about preventing suicide, check out the American Foundation for the Prevention of Suicide.

A local resource for teens in crisis is Positive Connections, an academic and treatment center of the Calcasieu School Board. Anyone in need of help may call 337-217-4295.

Another resource is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255)

Look for our web extra with more from Ernest Fruge.

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