Suicide rate shocking, but help is available

newsroom@islandpacket.comMay 8, 2014 

On behalf of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's South Carolina chapter, I would like to express condolences to the family of Celeste Wills of Beaufort for the recent loss of their young daughter to suicide.

Suicide deaths are shocking and traumatic. They leave many unanswered questions for the survivors. Unfortunately, I understand the intensity of their pain, as I also lost a child to suicide in 2006.

In the United States, more than 38,000 suicide deaths occur each year.

In South Carolina, suicide is the 11th leading cause of death, and, on average, one person dies by suicide every 13.75 hours.

In South Carolina, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 34; third for ages 10 to 14; fourth for ages 35 to 44; sixth for ages 45 to 54; and 10th for ages 55 to 64.

Almost twice as many people die by suicide in South Carolina annually than by homicide.

These statistics are shocking.

But we can do something as a community.

The fifth annual Out of the Darkness Walk to raise awareness and funding for suicide prevention, research and education in our area will be held Oct. 19 at Jarvis Creek Park on Hilton Head Island. To register, go to afsp.org then "Out of the Darkness Walks."

Know the warning signs of suicide (go to afsp.org), and memorize the hotline number. If you are in crisis, call 1-800- 273-TALK (8255) or call 911.

Vanessa Riley

Hilton Head Island

Editor's note: The writer chairs the board of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's South Carolina chapter.

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