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Local Experts Talk Suicide Prevention

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28)--Robin Williams’ family says he struggled with severe depression before his death.

That has sparked various discussions about the illness and how to prevent the suicide that so often follows.

Suicide comes with a lot of factors. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, 90 percent of people who commit suicide have been diagnosed with mental illness, like depression, but help is out there.

The staff here at Foundation 2 Crisis Center takes about two thousand crisis calls on any given month.

Some of those calls involve suicide prevention.

"In our society it's kind of taboo to talk about suicide with someone and that doesn't help things,” said Mobile Crisis Coordinator, Drew Martel.

He says it can cause loved ones to overlook the warning signs.

"Some of the biggest ones would include substance abuse, especially alcohol abuse, past suicide attempts,” Martel said.

He says having a frank discussion is a big step toward prevention.

"There is no evidence that talking about suicide increases someone's risk of suicide. In fact a lot of people are relieved to talk about suicide,” he said.

"Try to talk to somebody that seems more withdrawn, isolating negative,” said Dan Louzek, Manager at St. Luke’s Counseling Center.

Louzek says it's an emergency when someone is talking about death or making references of not wanting to be alive.

"It's good to seek medical attention, to make sure that they go to the emergency room and get evaluated immediately by a professional,” Louzek.

He says the key is to reach out and ask for help.

"As we get depressed sometimes it's hard to be hopeful and see the future and so being in that place by ourselves is very dangerous,” Louzek said.

Now foundation 2 does have counselors available 24 hours a day every day of the week.

They also have a depression and anxiety support group as well as a suicide survivor support group.
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