COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Raising awareness about suicide prevention is growing in importance every day. A recent loss in Smiths Station is bringing the issue back to the forefront.
A Columbus mom talked about losing her son to suicide. Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan has also seen the impact of these deaths on the community and can relate to people battling depression.
“I call it the monkey on the back,” Bryan said, "because basically that’s what it is, something wrong with you, you can’t exactly pinpoint it but it’s there.”
Before becoming the Muscogee County Coroner, Bryan worked in sales.
“I became a little bit withdrawn," he said, "trying to make numbers for the boss.”
He said he saw his doctor and was prescribed medication for depression.
“If you know the person and they’re usually humorous and talkative, and yet they’ve become drawn into themselves," Bryan said, "it’s quite apparent that’s a red flag.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said suicide rates across the U.S. rose over the past 20 years.
In 2017 alone, Alabama had more than 800 suicides. Georgia had over 1400.
From 2012 through 2018, Bryan said more and more suicides in Muscogee County were related to mental illnesses, from depression and anxiety to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Donna Faircloth’s son committed suicide three years ago.
“He was happy," she said, "he’d do anything for anybody. He always had a smile for everybody.”
“If your friend said their arm hurt, and it was obviously broken, you’re not going to know what to do with their broken arm but you’re going to take them to get some help," said Faircloth. "You’re going to find where you need to take them to get some help. It’s the same thing with mental illness.”
“If you’re at the point you think you want to kill yourself, wait give minutes, because five minutes later, it’s going to be altogether different and that little bit of time saves your life, also saves your family from the grief," Bryan said. "Just wait.”