South GA mental health expert talks suicide awareness - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

South GA mental health expert talks suicide awareness

A sign in Aspire's administrative offices says, "Happiness is an inside job." (Source: WALB) A sign in Aspire's administrative offices says, "Happiness is an inside job." (Source: WALB)
Aspire's Clinical Director Hetal Patel says everyone is susceptible to suicide. (Source: WALB) Aspire's Clinical Director Hetal Patel says everyone is susceptible to suicide. (Source: WALB)
South Georgia mental health experts say it's important to talk about suicide. (Source: WALB) South Georgia mental health experts say it's important to talk about suicide. (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

After an Albany man took his own life Wednesday, while surrounded by Lee County first responders, South Georgia mental health experts say it's important to talk about suicide.

According to Aspire in Albany, nine of ten people who die by suicide have a diagnosable and treatable mental illness.

Dougherty County Intake Clinical Director Hetal Patel said Thursday that everyone is susceptible to suicide, but there are different risk factors, including having a family member recently commit suicide, or experiencing a loss.

Patel said there are things you can look out for in your loved ones, in case they are suffering from a mental illness.

"We know our loved ones better than anybody else," said Patel. "We need to know that if there is a change in their behavior, if there is a change in their thinking patterns, if there is a change in their expressions of feelings, those are the cues. Those are your measuring sticks that we need to look at."

Those include drastic changes in behavior: 

  • Isolation
  • No longer enjoying activities someone used to love
  • Getting rid of belongings
  • Writing a will
  • Writing notes or letters
  • Not sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Not going to work

Patel added that it is important to take every suicide threat seriously.

She also said there is a myth that if we talk about suicide with someone who is contemplating the act, they will follow through.

However, Patel said opening up a conversation with a loved one who may be struggling can help give them relief.

If you or someone you know wants to seek out professional help for a mental illness or contemplating suicide, click here.

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