LAREDO, TX (KGNS) - According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, over 47,000 Americans died by suicide in 2017. It’s called an “invisible epidemic” and the Laredo Health Department, along with local agencies, hosted a Suicide Prevention Conference to put an end to it.
In an effort to reduce those numbers,
So far in 2019, police have responded to 228 suicide calls; unfortunately, 19 of those suffering from this epidemic ended their own life.
Julie Bazan said, “We are helping individuals learn about suicide, prevention symptoms, and how to work together so that we can collaborate and minimize the number of suicides not just in our community but in our area.”
Nonprofit organizations such as Pillar, SCAN, and Border Region Behavioral Health Center were just some of the many agencies who are taking part in this movement.
Suicide Prevention coordinator Jacqueline Villanueva says there are several key characteristics to keep a watchful eye on to tell if someone might be thinking of taking their own life.
“We always want to look at changes in behavior, if their eating habits change, if their sleeping habits change, if they show disinterest in things that used to be joyful to them.”
Experts say sometimes a person won’t show any physical symptoms, but deep inside they are hurting.
For those who may be dealing with hard times, local agencies say there is help available.
“Our agency does have a walk-in policy. If somebody comes in on a walk in we will do an evaluation to determine what services would be best appropriate for the individual,” said Villanueva.
If you or someone you know is struggling through hardships, Border Region is available from Monday through Friday from 8 p.m. to 5 p.m. and you can contact them at 956-794-3000.