South Georgians spread suicide prevention resources during observance month

As of 2022, The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs estimates that 17 veterans die by suicide every day.
Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 4:51 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2023 at 5:27 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - September is Suicide Prevention Month but for families who have lost a loved one to suicide, their dedication to spreading awareness about prevention methods extends beyond these 30 days.

“I really don’t know what pushed him over the edge. That’s a should have, would have, could have (a) conversation I have with myself daily that I should have seen something. I mean I’m his mom. My job is to protect him,” Laura Busbin, Founder of Jon’s Mission for 22, said.

Laura Busbin lost her son to suicide in 2017.
Laura Busbin lost her son to suicide in 2017.(Laura Busbin)

Her son, Jonathon Busbin, was just 23 years old when he died by suicide on October 14, 2017. The U.S. Army veteran suffered from a traumatic brain injury after serving in Afghanistan in 2013. When he returned home in 2015 after finishing his time in the army, his mom said there were no warning signs that her son was struggling.

“It’s been really hard. I haven’t had a full night’s sleep and going on 6 years. I still remember the call,” she said. “I live with that every day, trying to figure out what I could have done, what should I have done.”

Jonathon’s story is just one of many that have happened throughout the U.S. In 2022, the CDC says that suicides increased by over 40,000 cases last year alone. The CDC also notes that higher than average rates of suicide every year are veterans.

“Historically, when I lost Jonathon, I found out we were losing over 22 veterans a day, according to the Veterans Affairs,” Laura said.

As of 2022, The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs estimates that 17 veterans die by suicide every day. Dr. Dan Brewer, American Legion Post 30 Commander, said it’s important to spread suicide prevention awareness now more than ever.

“For us as veterans that see people that are having issues, it’s important for us to be with that person, talk to that person, listen to what they’re issues are,” Brewer said.

After Jonathan died by suicide in 2017, she created her non-profit called Jon’s Mission for 22—what she says is her vow to help others impacted by suicide.

“Until we as a society start looking at it that way and stop looking at it as it’s selfish, they did this, they did that, we’re not going to be able to save people. We’ve got to make it to where it’s okay to come to people and go ‘I need help’,” she said.

That’s something Jere Brands, with the National Alliance on Mental Illness Albany, says she’s trying to do by facilitating a suicide loss support group.

“Many studies worldwide have shown that as many as 90% of those who die by suicide have a diagnosable and often treatable mental illness,” Brands said.

Some warning signs of suicide include change in behavior, use of drugs or change in sleep patterns but sometimes there are no clear signs that someone is struggling.

“It’s something that you should talk about and I think the more we talk about it the better we’ll be as far as getting the word out. And because you raise your hand and ask for help, doesn’t mean you’re weak,” Laura said.

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, call the 24-hour support line at 988 or text “talk” to 741741.

Other Suicide prevention resources are listed below:

  • Southwest Georgia Suicide Loss Support Group email or call 229-869-9008
  • Online support for suicide loss and suicide prevention: (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention)
  • NAMI Georgia: visit
  • NAMI Albany: email or call 229-329-1444