Goodlettsville woman who lost 2 relatives to suicide stresses awareness

Suicides have risen 30 percent since 1999.

The deaths of fashion designer Kate Spade and chef Anthony Bourdain are part of a growing public health concern. On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported suicides are up in almost every state across the country.

The CDC released a report showing suicides are up more than 30 percent in half of the states since 1999. In light of the high-profile suicides and the alarming rates, a Goodlettsville woman shared with News4 the losses she's experienced.

Teresa Kimbro Culbreath said people have to know warning signs ahead of time. She lost her husband and brother to suicide and wishes she knew how to help sooner.

She first felt the loss of a loved one to suicide in 2001, and it was her brother Brent Kimbro.

"Just two and a half years between us and he was always there," said Culbreath. "It just feels like an arm and a leg is missing with him not being here."

Then three years later, she lost her husband of 21 years, Michael Culbreath.

"It's just one of those things you can't hardly believe," said Culbreath.

And it caught her off guard.

"There were a couple of warning signs, but I didn't catch on it. I didn't know them until later on when I thought back about it," said Culbreath. "In my case (with my husband), it was self-medicating with alcohol or drugs."

She now knows those warning signs and talks about her loss with people willing to listen.

Years later, it feels fresh for her.

"It's still part of carrying them on. It's just not the end of them. You want to keep talking about them, but some people just can't handle the stigma of suicide," said Culbreath.

It's a stigma she said needs to end, so people can help loved ones before it's too late.

"They don't want to touch it. They don't want to get near it or around it because it's taboo, and it's not going to happen to me. But it can happen to anybody," said Culbreath.

According to the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network, warning signs for suicide include: threatening or talking about wanting to hurt or kill themselves; looking for ways to kill themselves; talking or writing about death or suicide; displaying hopelessness; expressing rage or uncontrolled anger; acting recklessly or engaging in risky activities; expressing feelings or being trapped; withdrawing from friends and family; showing signs of anxiety and/or agitation; being unable to sleep or sleeping all the time; dramatic mood changes; giving away prized possessions; and having a history of suicide attempts or suicidal behavior.

If you are feeling one or more of the symptoms or know someone who is, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text "TN" to 741-741.

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