Counselors talk about suicide prevention in the wake of Williams - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Counselors talk about suicide prevention in the wake of Williams' death

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

Suicide is a tough issue to talk about, especially considering how loved Robin Williams was by many Americans. However, experts say following this tragedy, it's important to raise awareness about suicide.

Some people who deal with suicide all too often say it’s an issue everyone should know how to recognize.

Glenda Zook has been taking 911 calls for seven years now. Still, she said suicide calls are some of the toughest.

"Somebody's calling you and they're pretty desperate,” Zook said.

Zook said when the call comes in, training kicks in.

"You develop a skill to talk to people and listen to people,” Zook said.

She said compassion also plays a role when talking with someone who is considering suicide.

"This person needs you,” Zook said. “They don't just need the communicator on the other end of the phone. They need you as a person. They need to know that they're being heard."

Suicide prevention counselors say we can help, too.

"I think a lot of times people are afraid they're going to have to solve it, and they don't have to," Rick Strait with Community Counseling Center said.

He said if you or a loved one is having suicidal thoughts, the main thing is to get help,”

"With any kind of unhealthy thoughts, if we let those continue, they're going to increase and if you're not talking to somebody, they're going to increase your chances of acting on those thoughts,” Strait said.

Strait said in the midst of tragedy, there's something to be learned.

"It’s about opening that dialog and getting people to recognize it's out there and it's more common than we may want to think,” Strait said.

Strait also provides tips to help recognize signs of suicidal thoughts. He says to be aware of these signs:

  1. Statements that could be suicidal
  2. Withdrawal from family or activities
  3. Signs of mental illness or overall sadness
  4. Major life changes like divorce or bankruptcy

If you do recognize these signs, be sure to seek help from a professional and call the suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

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