ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Family members of those who have taken their own lives in South Georgia said Friday that the news of suicide rates rising across the country is devastating.
Two women shared a message of hope following their experiences with their loved ones taking their own lives.
They said they hope to stop people from using a very permanent and devastating solution for what they call a temporary problem.
"It's kind of heartbreaking to know that last time I was here, I was with him," said Arlie Eidenire, as she stood underneath a tree next to a Cordele church.
Eidenire said she used to spend hours upon hours there, working and bonding with her father, Larry Potts.
He took his own life nearly two years ago.
"I got a voice message from somebody, and it said, 'Arlie, where are you?' And I automatically knew my dad was gone," Eidenire explained.
Now, she said she is once again heartbroken at the news suicides are on the rise across the U.S.
"How can this world let people feel so hopeless, it just baffles me," she said.
One town over, in Sylvester, Tiffany Eubanks, whose step-mom took her life nearly eight years ago, said she feels the same.
"Every life matters. Everyone matters," Eubanks said.
Eubanks' cousin also committed suicide years ago.
She said while losing a loved one is the hardest part, a close second is the unknown.
"Why? Why did this happen? What caused this? What could have prevented this?" she asked.
Both Eubanks and Eidenire said it will take entire communities coming together to raise awareness and stop this tragedy from taking another life.
For now, they each have a message to anyone feeling like they don't have any other option.
"If you feel like your life needs to end, like I said, your life matters. You are loved," said Eubanks.
"Taking your life is not the answer," said Eidenire. "You just haven't sought your answer yet. You just haven't found it."
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline gives free and confidential support and crisis resources around the clock. That phone number is 1 (800) 273-8255.