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Suicide's disturbing trends

By Jaccii Farris, Reporter, JFarris@wfmz.com
Published On: Sep 18 2013 05:10:55 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 18 2013 06:21:12 PM CDT

September is National Suicide Awareness Month.

September is National Suicide Awareness Month.

The Centers for Disease Control say most suicides in the United states involve firearms but not everyone has access to a gun.

So some turn to the Internet.

The world wide web has changed the way we live but it's also changing the way some of us die.

Unfortunately there are web sites that will direct you every step of the way to a suicide," said Nancy Marshall, Clinician at Family Answers in Allentown.

It's the deadly side of the information super-highway: "Suicide 'how to' websites."

Some describe the success rate for various methods.

How long it will take and how much it will hurt.

On the list, jumping from heights like a building or bridge.

"There have been only three individuals who have survived the jump from the 8th street bridge," said Allentown Assistant Police Chief Joe Hanna.

Hanna says no one knows why, but the 8th street bridge has become a suicide destination with dozens of people jumping to their deaths over the years.

"We had an individual jump and land on the hood of a car that was passing underneath," said Hanna.

The city installed cameras.

Hanna says in the last three years the cameras have resulted in 107 welfare checks.

PennDOT is planning to put up barriers when the bridge is renovated next year.

But experts say there are people who are crying out for help in our community right now.

They say some members of our society are looked after more closely than others.

The issue of bullying and children in recent years has raised a lot of awareness.

"We get numerous calls and I attribute the increase to education in the schools, parents and coaches to look for kids who are in crisis and refer them," said Gary Ruschman the Director of Northampton County Information and Refferal.

Rischman says if more people got involved with adults, more suicides could be prevented.

"People are often afraid that if they ask about suicide it's going to put the idea in someone's head. If they are not thinking about it, mentioning it is not going to make them suicidal on the other hand, if they are thinking about it asking that question opens the door for a conversation that might otherwise never occur," said Psychologist Peter Langman.

Another startling trend, the Veteran's Affairs Administration says every day 22 veterans commit suicide.

If you know someone who is depressed, withdrawn or talks about what life would be like if they weren't here and who spends a lot of time on the Internet, mental health officials say you may want to find out what they are looking at.