In 2010, an average of one person died by suicide in Missouri every 10 hours and 29 minutes, making it the 10th leading cause of death in the state.
Tuesday, Gov. Jay Nixon signed a proclamation making September suicide prevention month.
In a couple of weeks, hundreds are expected to gather in Kansas City for a walk in remembrance of loved ones lost to suicide. This most likely wouldn't have come to fruition had it not been for two women who've lived through the nightmare.
Barbara Nelson and Caroline Allen have lived through the suicide of a loved one, something so many people fear and what people rarely talk about.
"It doesn't get easier. It gets a little softer as we travel through this journey that we don't want to be on," Allen said.
Allen's husband, Barry, took his own life two years ago. Like so many others, he left his loved ones wondering why and sending them on a path for information and help they never imagined they'd so desperately need.
"I, like most people, didn't realize the warning signs that came with it and, after I learned the signs, my husband had every single one of them," Allen said.
Nelson didn't see any warning signs in her 16-year-old son Jason. Jason was keeping positive and happy at home, but took his own life.
While that was nightmare enough for any parent to take, what happened six months later made Nelson's pain unimaginable. Her 18-year-old son Justin was away at college at the time of his brother's death. He blamed himself for not being there for his little brother and also took his own life.
"He left us a note saying to forgive him and that Jason was alone and he had to go to be with him and that we had each other," Nelson said.
Both Nelson and Allen are taking part in the Out of the Darkness walk at Berkley Riverfront Park next month. A fundraiser for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, hundreds of people will walk to remember loved ones lost and do what they can to help prevent suicide altogether.
"I knew one day I was going to turn my tragedy around and give back to the community so that I can reassure people they're not alone and give them hope that they can survive and we can fight this together," Nelson said.
Organizations said there are some observable signs of serious depression. They include:
Unrelenting low mood, pessimism, hopelessness, desperation, anxiety, psychic pain and inner tension, withdrawal, sleep problems, increased alcohol or drug use, recent impulsiveness and taking unnecessary risks, threatening suicide or expressing a strong wish to die.
Other indicators include making a plan, like giving away prized possessions, sudden or impulsive purchase of a firearm, obtaining other means of killing oneself such as poison/medication as well as unexpected rage or anger.
Click here for more on the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.
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