You’re Not Alone: Suicide warning signs and how you can help - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

You’re Not Alone: Suicide warning signs and how you can help

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

Suicide is a difficult topic for many to discuss, but right now there's a sense of urgency to talk about it.

In the past week, two teens in Spokane County have taken their lives and police in North Idaho say it might also have happened there.

One of the big problems is a lack of mental health workers.

In fact, when someone attempts to commit suicide, facilities are supposed to hold them for 72 hours. But because there aren't enough beds, hospitals have to turn people away.

KHQ Local News Reporter Joe McHale spoke with someone who is dedicating her life to suicide prevention and shows us, no matter how often you feel this way you are not alone.

“It's a very complicated issue,” said Sabrina Votava. “And like anything that's difficult, we want to avoid it.”

Votava has dedicated the last decade of her life bringing awareness to the topic no one wants to talk about: Suicide and the devastating effect is has on so many lives.

“When somebody is struggling with something like this it may be their deepest darkest secret,” said Votava. “And they don't know how you're going to handle it if they told you, so they'll keep it to themselves.”

It's a dark reality Votava wants to shed light on.

In Washington state alone, someone takes their own life every eight hours. And according to the Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 14.

But for Votava the issue is much more than a statistic.

“I lost two of my brothers to suicide about six months apart when I was a freshman in college,” said Votava. “They were 22 and 23-years-old. I didn’t know what it looked like or what it was, so part of my healing was to do research to understand and I needed to understand.”

Votava’s grief and need to understand paved the way for her career. Now, Votava educates people about the warning signs of depression and suicidal thoughts.

“One way I remember some of the warning signs is the acronym ‘The FACTS.’ How are they feeling? How are they acting? Have you seen changes? Have they made threats? And what is their situation like?”

Votava says being aware is only the first step to getting someone help, but the best and most immediate thing you can do is listen.

“That can be a really hard thing to deal with,” said Votava. “And so our immediate reaction is to say we want to fix it, or we want to get you resources, or help, but take a deep breath and let them talk.”

For more information about resources that are available for people struggling with suicidal thoughts, click here.

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