As suicides increase, experts and survivors offer advice - WSMV News 4

As suicides increase, experts and survivors offer advice

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

"These are just some of my hospital bracelets. I haven't been able to save all of them," said Lauren Clements as she emptied out a plastic bag full of paper wristbands.

At age 16 Clements was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, OCD and PTSD.

She has endured 17 hospitalizations and nine suicide attempts, including two in 2018.

"It's excruciating. Every single day it's like being in a rain storm that never stops," said Clements.

Clements said it's difficult dealing with the stigmas attached to mental illnesses and people's misconceptions about suicide since many think people who are suicidal are selfish.

"We don't want to cause other people pain. We just want our pain to stop," said Clements.

Clements isn't alone.

Suicides are on the rise nationwide.

In Tennessee, they're especially prevalent in rural areas.

"A lot of folks feel like they have to drive to Nashville to get any sort of that help they might need. That is not the case generally," said Joanne Perley from the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network.

Perley is concerned about the recent deaths of designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain because suicides spiked after actor Robin Williams killed himself.

"It can be very triggering during those times, so working with the media during this time is crucial so that appropriate and safe messaging happens," said Perley.

Experts and survivors said instead of telling people to reach out, reach out to them.

"It's OK to ask them if they're considering suicide. You're not going to give them the idea. You're not going to suggest it to them. It's OK to ask. It might just save their life," said Clements.

Experts also said to look for the warning signs: talking about death or suicides, changes to normal activity or giving away prized possessions.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 1-800-273-8255. You can also text "TN" to 741741. The hotline is monitored 24 hours a day seven days a week.

For helpful information, you can visit www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

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