GREEN BAY – Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Members of From Mourning to Hope, a grief recovery support group in Green Bay, are learning how they can help prevent the growing problem.
Erik Cornelius’ son committed suicide two and a half ago years ago.
“My son was 15. He completed suicide the first day of his sophomore year. For months as soon as I’d wake up in the morning, it was like a light switch would go off…my son’s not with me anymore and he had his whole life ahead of him,” said Cornelius.
Cornelius feels it’s important to share his story with others as he learns more about the warning signs of suicide.
“Suicide happens and I want more people to know it. I wish I would’ve known more about it,” Cornelius said.
Talking about suicide can be a very difficult topic for some. But members of the support group want to remove the shame and stigma surrounding suicide.
The group is learning QPR or question, persuade, and refer. Those three steps can help save a life.
“Just listen and ask them what’s going on. Oftentimes, if a person just has someone they can talk to and share about these feelings they’re feeling inside, oftentimes that can be enough to diffuse those feelings and help them find help,” said Jeff Strommen, a certified QPR trainer.
The National Institute of Mental Health says some of the warning signs of suicide are: a person withdrawing or feeling isolated, talking about wanting to die, and extreme mood swings.
The Coalition for Suicide Prevention says 35 people died by suicide in Brown County last year. That’s the highest number since 2009.
“In our particular area, there’s been a lot of suicide among teens, as well as adults and there are times that you may be dealing with someone who you think they’re dealing with suicide but you’re not sure,” said Curtis Benjamin, director of From Mourning to Hope.
Benjamin says QPR training is something everyone should know and now his support group can help bring awareness to suicide, and hopefully help those in need.
For a list of suicide prevention websites, click here.