Experts talk about suicide prevention following high-profile deaths

Posted at 4:25 PM, Jun 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-08 17:25:54-04

Experts are using the tragic and untimely deaths of fashion designer Kate Spade and chef and TV host Anthony Bourdain to talk more about suicide prevention.

Bourdain was found dead Friday morning inside his hotel room in France. He was working on an upcoming episode of his award-winning series, "Parts Unknown." His death came just three days after Spade was found hanging in her New York City apartment.

These deaths are part of an unfortunate trend. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there is a dramatic rise in the number of people taking their own lives. National suicide rates have risen by nearly a third since 1999. 

Suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Experts at the Behavioral Health Center of Nueces County also say there are twice as many suicides each year as there are homicides.

Mark Hendrix, Director of Adult Mental Health Services, says there are many warning signs that a person may be feeling suicidal and need help.

"Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness. feelings of despair," Hendrix outlines. "People will begin to say goodbye subtly or to give away possessions that would otherwise be very valuable."

Linda Fraser, the center’s clinical director, adds, "You might see an increase in them isolating and not talking to people, interacting with people that they usually did on a regular basis."

Both also say that many suicides happen in people who are not diagnosed with a specific mental illness. They say a one-time, life-changing event can trigger suicidal thoughts in many people.

Hendrix says that research shows the best thing people can do for someone who’s feeling suicidal is to talk openly with them about it. He says, "Be ready, willing and able to talk about it. And then talking about it directly opens the door to some possibilities for intervention and change."

The Behavioral Center of Nueces County offers resources for people who may need help. Fraser says anyone can contact the center for a mental health screening to find out if they qualify for services there. If they don’t, the staff will refer them to the appropriate resources.

In addition, the Coastal Plains Community Center serves other counties in the Coastal Bend. Both locations have mobile crisis outreach and intervention teams that are available around the clock, 365 days a year.

Here is a list of available resources for anyone who needs help:

Local Crisis Hotline: 1-888-767-4493
National Crisis Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Veterans Crisis Hotline: 1-800-273-8255 press 1. Or text to 838255
Behavioral Health Center of Nueces County: 361-886-6970 (Adult Services); 361-851-6726 (Youth Services) 
Coastal Plains Community Center: 361-777-3991

Learn more about the Behavioral Health Center of Nueces County by clicking here, and the Coastal Plains Community Center by clicking here.