Woman stresses suicide prevention after tragedy - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Woman stresses suicide prevention after tragedy

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CARBONDALE -- May marks Mental Health Awareness Month and everyone from celebrities to concerned citizens are raising awareness. They also want to bring attention to suicide, and ways to get help.

Syhemia Gray-Cruz, of Carbondale, opened up about losing a loved one to suicide and encourages people to take advantage of resources.

"When you get that call, you just don't know what to do, what to say," Gray-Cruz said.

Gray-Cruz described the moment she found out she lost a loved one to suicide. It's a moment that left Gray-Cruz and her family in shock.

"Is it going to be over? When is this going to be over?" Gray-Cruz said.

Today, Gray-Cruz shares her story with hopes that others can help prevent loved ones from taking their own lives.

"There's not signs that you can see physically but you can hear it through the way they talk," Gray-Cruz said.

Experts say someone may talk about wanting to die but, not all signs are obvious. Others include: Talking about being a burden to others; Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs; and Acting anxious, agitated, or reckless.

Gray-Cruz said it's important to pay attention to those signs and to work to get them the help they need. 

"Somebody has to be that backbone to push them along because not everybody is willing to go get counseling," Gray-Cruz said.

She supports initiatives like the #MyYoungerSelf campaign. Celebrities on social media are participating by sharing their own struggles to encourage children to get help.

"It lets people know that they're not alone with dealing with whatever they're dealing with, it may stop somebody from doing that," Gray-Cruz said. "A person may recall hearing somebody else's story."

Gray-Cruz said one of the biggest ways to help is simply offering a shoulder to lean on.

"Love, support, be there, listen," Gray-Cruz said.

If you or someone you know is in need of help, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

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