Columbus counselor warns of signs of depression as suicide rates climb

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain are two successful icons gone by suicide within a matter of days.

In the wake of their deaths, a counselor in the Chattahoochee Valley is taking a closer look at mental health and addressing those needs.

"In the counseling field, depression is the common cold of mental illness. It is very common," said  Thomas Waynick, CEO, and executive director of Pastoral Institute.

New numbers from the CDC shows suicide rates in the United States continue to climb.

Nearly every state in the country saw an increase in suicides from 1999 to 2017.

According to a Muscogee County Coroner's Office report, there have been at least five suicides in the Chattahoochee alley area so far in 2018.

Waynick says even with people committing suicide more frequently, it's still viewed as a taboo subject.

"We have a tendency in our culture not to think about it. The popular wisdom is, 'let's not talk about it, and it won't happen.' The reality is it happens. It happens frequently," said Waynick.

The report from the CDC says employment, finances, relationships, and health are major factors in the rise in rates.

Officials say recognizing the signs that someone could be in distress is critical. These signs include change in mood or lack of sleep.

"It's a team effort. It shouldn't fall on one person to help someone through a time of suicidal isolation. If you know someone, reach out to others. The reality is if you can get someone through the window, the window of hopelessness and helplessness, they will continue to live and they will get better," said Waynick.

If you suspect someone may be at risk of suicide, please call the national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.

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