AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Suicide rates are at their highest level since World War II, that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dealing with the loss and the questions can be paralyzing for family and friends. Something Cassidy Bass knows all too well. She lost her father to suicide when she was 12 years old. She lost her husband two years ago.
Bass is hoping by talking about it we can discover the power of help.
Cassidy tears up when talking about the day her husband took his own life.
“I said, ‘Jason, please don’t,'” said Bass. “He was murmuring and saying stuff. I got scared and went out the door. As I walked out the door, I heard the gun go off.”
Bass did not have to turn around. She knew her husband of six years had taken his own life.
“Jason was bi-polar and manic-depressive,” said Bass. “He had been in therapy or seeing a psychiatrist for the past three years.”
Bass told us when Jason was on his medicine, he did quite well.
A steady routine of counseling, medicine, and going to church became the combination that seemed to work best. It is what happened at a small group meeting that changed everything.
“A woman prayed over him at small group,” Bass. explained. “She told him he no longer needed his medication, that Jesus had healed him. The problem with that is that she didn’t know his history. She didn’t know what he was going through. She didn’t know medically what we were dealing with at home.”
Five months after her husband got off his medicine, he took his own life.
“I don’t know, he didn’t act the same or look the same. He became violent and as I left the house, I heard the gunshot go off,” Bass said.
Bass lost her husband and Ella lost her father.
Bass had been down this road before, her father committed suicide when she was 12.
When her father took his own life, Bass did not seek help. This time, she reached out and discovered the power of help.
“They need to understand that it’s not their fault,” said Shelley White. “They weren’t the ones who made the decision.”
White is a counselor and said getting professional help is crucial.
Unfortunately, people are often ignoring the signs or refuse to reach out because of misconceptions.
“People who have a mental health issue, they’re crazy, they can’t handle things, they’re weak,” said Bass, talking about how people get it wrong. “In all reality, it’s a physical, chemical imbalance in their body that affects the brain.”
That hits home with Bass.
“That was a big problem with Jason,” Bass said. “Pride and being embarrassed of his bipolar and manic. It’s not something to be ashamed of.”
The CDC has reported more than a 30% increase in suicides in the U.S. since 2000. A trend White said she is seeing in her office.
“I have seen an increase in my practice with clients that have come in that either had suicidal thoughts or currently having suicidal thoughts,” said White.
White is also seeing a major increase in those seeking help after a family member takes their own life.
The message White and Bass both hope to convey is to not be afraid to ask for help.
“Right after that, I had PTSD because of that,” said Bass. “I can’t tell you what that does to you. To stand outside your home and literally watch it crumble, in that sound. My life fell to pieces and so, to come back from that and realize it’s going to be ok is really meaningful to me.”
Bass is doing better but she will tell you there are good days and bad days.
The important thing is to recognize if you have suffered a loss because of suicide or if you need help, you are not alone.
- In the U-S, one person dies every 11 minutes because of suicide.
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death.
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in people ages 10 to 34.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.
- You can also connect with a crisis counselor 24/7 by texting ‘HOME’ to 741741.
Candice Kirkpatrick is the program director at the Hope and Healing Place. She talks about support groups for those grieving.
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