CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — At 25-years-old, most people thought Chris Stitt had everything going for him and was destined for a bright future.
But on December 9, 2011 the soon-to-be college graduate took his own life, shocking family members like his aunt, Corpus Christi resident Angela Horner.
“From the outside looking in, people were just baffled," she said. "They’re like, 'Why? We don’t understand."
Unknown to most people, Horner says Chris was struggling mentally from a "series of losses."
In the year leading up to his suicide, his grandmother and his best friend died.
Then, his off-and-on girlfriend ended their relationship permanently, moved to a different state, and avoided contact with Chris.
His first suicide attempt failed.
When his mother found out about it, he swore there wouldn't be a second attempt.
“She wanted to believe that he was OK and was going to be OK," Horner said. "But unfortunately two weeks later he tried again, and this time he died.”
Horner is sharing her nephew's story during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in hopes that people who are depressed or are having suicidal thoughts get the help they need.
Psychiatrist with Corpus Christi Medical Center John Lusins says that help often comes from an observant loved one who observes warning signs.
“Do you want to talk about it?" Lusins suggested you ask a possibly depressed person. "Be open and allow them to express themselves."
Warning signs to look for include changes of routine and isolation.
Once observed and discussed, seeking the care of mental health professionals is a logical next step.
“Don’t ever feel like you can’t get help," Lusins said. "Because it’s there."
The Bayview Behavioral Hospital, in the same complex as Lusins' office, is one example.
Doctors there are available for mental health evaluations 24-hours a day.
If you don't want to be evaluated in person, the Nueces Center for Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities has a 24-hour hotline -- 888-767-4493.
Whatever course you take, Horner says you should take action as soon as you start having suicidal thoughts.
“It’s something that’s not easy to talk about, but I know that it’s important to talk about it," Horner said. "I’m here today talking to you, because I want to make sure that Chris didn’t die for nothing."