MCCRACKEN COUNTY, KY — One person every 40 seconds. That adds up to 800,000 people every year who die by suicide, according to the newest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Kentucky, it's the second leading cause of death for young people from 15 to 34 years old. In western Kentucky, suicide rates are more than double the national average.
Tuesday is World Suicide Prevention Day. It's aim to save lives.
Christian Waggoner lost her 15-year-old brother to suicide three years ago.
"Once I was going through it I said, 'Why, why, why?' when it first happened," Waggoner said. "But I've come to the conclusion that he had his reasons, but he loved us."
She said, although the family doesn't get to see him now, he is always with them.
"It's very hard to deal with it," Waggoner said. "But I get through it day by day."
Danelle Sams is a clinical practitioner. She lost a client to suicide and also found herself questioning what more she could have done.
"It was important for me to, you know, reflect back," Sams said. "I provided the best services, you know, that I could."
Suicide Prevention Specialist Samantha Powell said possible signs of suicide include behavior changes and talking about death often.
She said if you see those signs, ask the person directly.
"People think that it will put the thought in someone's head, and it won't," Powell said. "It will actually relieve the person that may be considering it, and it will open up a door or the conversation about mental health in general."
For those who aren't comfortable talking to someone they know, there is the suicide prevention lifeline. When someone calls the number, they'll be directed to Four Rivers Behavioral Health, so they can get help from someone local.
Sams said talking openly about suicide helps to break the stigma around it. "The more we talk about it, the more people will feel comfortable in reaching out for help," Sams said.
"If we could have sit down and say talk to him, he might still not have done that," Waggoner said. But, she hopes others hear their story and learn from it, so they don't lose someone they love.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, don't hesitate to ask for help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
More than 44,965 Americans lose their lives to suicide every year.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will have a Walk To Fight Suicide on Sept. 21. It aims to bring awareness to the issue. The event will be at Brooks Stadium in Paducah. It starts at 10:30 a.m.