Mental Health: Survivors of Suicide: A Carolina Crisis — (WSPA 7 News)

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WSPA 7 News

Wednesday, May 07, 2008 – 02:45 PM

By Carrie Davis

If you look at the pictures you’ll see a happy tight knit family with a strong faith.  But the photos Gia Diamonduras holds also tell a tragedy, a family ripped a part by suicide, twice.

Gia says of her brother,  “This was a beautiful man who had a wonderful life and a loving family.”

Her older brother Skipper, at age 46, left a note for his wife and 3 children and took his own life.

She says, “A lot of it was talking about how he had failed and how he wanted to make things right.”

Then just 5 years later, Robert, her brother’s 18 year old son killed himself.

According to Gia, “You begin to question what could I have done, what could I have said, I didn’t see it.”

Dr. David Cox, also a survivor of suicide says it is a silent killer because no one talks about it.

Dr. Cox says,  “Parents need to be spending time with their children.  They need to have meals together, they need to talk with them regularly.”

Dr. Cox says with one person in this country dying every 17 seconds, this is a crisis facing all of us.

He says,  “It is very much a problem among elderly white males.  They have the highest ratio of suicide. among young people it is the second leading cause of death.”

The numbers are staggering among veterans as well.  A CBS News investigation revealed in 2005, 120 of those who had served in the military took their lives every week.

Dr. Cox says we all need to be aware of the signs and open to taking action.

He claims,  “It is probably not so much what you say that is going to make a difference in a depressed persons life.  It is that you show you care.”

That is how Gia Diamonduras says she is getting through the tragedies in her life, by talking about it and explaining to the world why no one should choose suicide.

Gia says her brother was depressed and took his own life when finances got bad.  She tells us her nephew committed suicide after he had been on an antidepressant for six weeks. 

This survivor says she wants people to be aware of the effects of antidepressants and be careful.  She also agrees with Dr. Cox and says the only way we are going to fight the suicide problem is to talk about it.

“I don’t know why we constantly work on the body it is fine to talk about the body we bring casseroles for people who have cancer but if you have mental illness it is just so hard in our community and society and I think that’s what needs to change.”

Some signs Dr. Cox points out that he says should raise a red flag are dressing really dark, giving away prized possessions, not eating or eating too much, saying things like “I wish I wasn’t born or “you would be better off without me and causing themselves bodily harm like cutting or the choking game.