BRISTOL, Va. - Suicide is growing at an alarming rate every year.
From 1999 to 2010, the suicide rate among Americans ages 35 to 64 rose by nearly 30 percent.
Suicide is a subject that is very rarely talked about, but could affect anyone and everyone who is faced with it.
We sat down with Randall Mullins, who isn't strange to dealing with the topic after a friend took his own life. "He'd called me and said, 'Randall, I need to talk'. It went to my voicemail. I figured I'd answer it when I get a little more time, I was very busy," said Mullins.
It was a phone call that he was never able to return -- his friend took his life a short time later. "It's kind of haunted me since then. Maybe if I had been able to answer his call and speak with him, we could have resolved some things," said Mullins.
Katie Greatti, Director of the Suicide Prevention team for the Crisis Center, tells us suicide is on the rise in the United States and is hitting closer to home than some may think. "We were below the national average in 2010 and we've grown slightly above the average as of 2011. Percentage-wise it isn't that great, but it's still showing Virginians are committing suicide more frequently," said Greatti.
We broke down the numbers and according to the Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network (click to view PDF) in 2011, Tennessee had a total of 938 suicide deaths. According to the latest annual report by the Virginia Medical Examiner's office (click to view PDF), Virginia had 1,067, a 13-year high for the State. "We tend to attribute it to joblessness. When those rise we tend to see it a lot more," said Greatti.
We learned other contributors to the rising numbers are relationships problems and lack of access to mental health resources.
While teen suicide rates are fairly stable, we discovered the rising number are in people ages 45 to 64.
Te crisis lines are open 24/7 for anyone that may need to just talk. That number is 276-466-2312.
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