SAN ANGELO, Texas (KLST / KSAN) – Just since the month of May, 12, people have committed suicide in Tom Green County, with 14 so far this year.
Over the past 20 years, the suicide rate in Tom Green County has been higher than the state and national average and counselors say one of their biggest goals is to get people to recognize others who may be afraid to ask for help.
Shelby Joseph, Director of Zero Suicide Services at West Texas Counseling and Guidance, says, “Don’t be afraid to ask. If you notice someone has a change in behavior, which sometimes does look like sadness and depression, but maybe it’s the opposite. Maybe someone has made that choice for themselves that they can’t do this any longer, and all of a sudden, they’re happy and they’re hanging out. You see that change in behavior, really just ask how they’re doing.”
West Texas Counseling and Guidance held the sixth annual Shine a Light event to put a spotlight on suicide during Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month.
Tabbatha Lenard with West Texas Counseling and Guidance says, “We have this opportunity to gather with those locally who have lost a loved one to suicide and the whole point of this event is not to. It’s a somber event, but the whole point is to be hopeful, and to shine light on this very hard and dark topic.”
Their main goal is to raise awareness within the community and to prevent another loss.
Lenard continues, “This is all just an opportunity for us to really plant for the community, the resources that are available, and to let them know that we’re there for them. Although we’ve lost some, we need to gather to grow and heal. We don’t want to lose anyone else.”