Today is World Suicide Prevention Day

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day.

Just yesterday, a suicide victim jumped from an overpass on I-696 around 3:30 a.m. in Farmington Hills. On Saturday of last week, an Independence Township man, who was in the middle of a divorce, was found hanging by a belt inside his closet. And the body of Matthew David Lyzen, 23, of Rochester Hills was found earlier this month, with a self inflicted gunshot wound to his head, after he went missing seven months ago.

Suicide has become an epidemic, and each time I hear about someone taking his or her life (which seems like it's on a daily basis lately), it breaks my heart. Suicide takes the lives of nearly 40,000 Americans every year, according to the organization Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, and is the second leading cause of death among people age 15-29.

I think, in the last decade or so, there has been an astounding step in the right direction when it comes to suicide prevention and awareness. But we are not there yet because there is still a stigma against mental illness.

When the world starts understanding that, just like cancer or diabetes, mental illness is a disease just the same and when people stop using the words "crazy" or "retarded," that's when I think the stigma will significantly decrease. That's when people will stop being ashamed to seek help. And then many of these needless deaths can stop.

If you had a tumor, would you just sit there and wait for it to take over your body and spread? No, you would go to the hospital and fight like hell to survive. Mental illness is the same thing. Go to the hospital. Treat it. Get help and stop thinking you can cure it on your own. It's not something you can just wish away — just like you can't just wish away a tumor or any other disease.

The local nonprofit Common Ground released this statement on their Facebook page today:

"People thinking of taking their life by suicide often feel terribly isolated; because of their distress, they may not think of anyone they can turn to, furthering this isolation. Please help get the word out—anyone and everyone can turn to Common Ground. We will be there for you. It all starts with a simple phone call: 800-231-1127. Or you can text us at 248-809-5550. By sharing this post with all your friends, you are helping us pull together as a community to address this very serious problem."

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