Talking with someone troubled might prevent a suicide - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Talking with someone troubled might prevent a suicide

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SAGINAW COUNTY (WJRT) -

(04/11/14) - The month of April marks the start of warmer weather and people getting outside, but research shows April is also a time when more people commit suicide.

It was in March when former Saginaw Spirit hockey player Terry Trafford took his own life. Since then, there have been two other suicides in Saginaw County.

Suicide is a difficult subject to talk about, but talk is exactly what is needed to prevent someone from taking their life.

"We've seen a big increase in attempts, people asking for help, people referring, and we are really not sure where it is coming from," said Barb Smith.

Smith has been busy, and in a way, that's a bad thing. She is the founder of Saginaw Survivors of Suicide.

"Suicide is about hopelessness. I think that when it's a long, long winter, it becomes deeper," she said.

The long winter might be a factor, but why someone makes that final decision is sometimes difficult to comprehend. Jackie Crofoot still wonders.

"In retrospect, I guess you can kind of tell, but I really couldn't, I did not see this coming, and it came right out of the blue," she said.

Her son, 12-year-old David, ended his life a little more than two years ago.

"Some days are better than others, holidays are very difficult still, it's only been two years, the big occasion days, birthdays are tough, Mothers Day is really bad," she said.

Her husband, and their two teenage daughters, are doing their best to cope.

"My daughter says, 'Mom its OK if you cry, it just means that you've been too strong for too long, and you need to let some of that go,'" Crofoot said.

While it's difficult to talk about, she wants others to talk, talk about their problems with family and friends.

"There are so many people out there that care about you that you don't even realize that are out there, that you have come into contact with that you have touched in some way, that, you will be missed, you will never know all these awesome things if you are not here to participate, you will never know, all these great things that could be out there for you, you need to wait," she said.

"If someone is at risk, don't leave them alone, get them out of their bedrooms, take them for a walk, visit them, do daily phone calls," Smith said.

Smith would like to see mental health budgets across the country, state and at local levels increased, instead of being cut, which they have been in recent years.

Crofoot says she feels like a casualty of suicide, not a survivor, not yet, but she believes that time will come. Until then, she gets support from friends, co-workers and family. Her daughters inspire her with this definition of dealing with the trials and tribulations of life.

"Life is like a bow and arrow, and life will stretch you, like a bow stretched that arrow, and you are the arrow, and it will stretch you and stretch you, and just when you think you can't stretch anymore, the string will let go and you will fly into something great," she said.

The suicide prevention hotline is 1-800-273-TALK.

Aug. 17 is the date for this year's Walk For Hope for depression and suicide awareness, which is held at Northwood University. The attendance for each of the past two years has increased.

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