Suicide is common in Georgia -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Suicide is common in Georgia

June 27, 2007

Albany -- More than 800 people commit suicide in Georgia every year. Another 17,000 are injured trying to kill themselves.

The Georgia Department of Human Resources wants those considering suicide to get help now, and they say friends and family can help.

Earlier this month, Michael Thomas committed suicide after a standoff with police. In Lee County over the weekend, a woman committed suicide, and the county had another suicide attempt yesterday.

"Yesterday we had an individual that had suicidal threats, suicidal thoughts, and sometimes there's cutting instruments used," said Col. Duane Sapp of the Lee Co. Sheriff's Office.

In Georgia more people are dying from suicide than homicide and experts say most often it's related to depression.

"It would be easy to lump them altogether and make a generalized widespread statement, but you got to remember each one of these instances involves a precious human life and so the circumstances surrounding that are always unique," Sapp said.

That's why Albany Doctor John Burns believes it's important for family, friends, or even co-workers to look at clues that may tip off suicidal thoughts. He says sometimes the person will make an obvious, direct statement like, "things would be better if I wasn't here."

Other times it's indirect, complaints of being tired or exhausted, statements like "I don't want to be here." They may remove all references about the future or may be struggling with the death of a loved one or a terminal illness. Whatever the clue, there is help.

"Which involve counseling, regarding the depression, it could be medication, so they need to try and seek help for the individual," says Bertha McDonald, an R.N. at the Albany Crisis Stabilization Program.

In Lee County yesterday, help arrived in time. "Praise God we were able to get there in time and convince him to go to the hospital and seek medical attention," Sapp said.

The Mental Health Center in Albany offers counseling and can recommend places to find help in your community. Georgia also has a Crisis & Access Line 24 hours a day.

There is hope, 80 to 90 percent of people suffering from clinical depression can and do recover.

  • The Albany Mental Health Center can be reached at (229)430-4140, after hours at (229)430-4052. 
  • The Georgia Crisis and Access Line can be reached 24 hours a day at 1-800-715-4225.