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Bringing awareness to the 154 suicides in North Dakota in 2019

(KFYR)
Published: Feb. 5, 2020 at 6:29 PM CST
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In North Dakota, the suicide rate is 25 percent higher than the national average.

In 2019, 154 people in the state of North Dakota completed suicide.

Family members who gather monthly at a Bismarck suicide support group say the only way to combat the numbers is to talk about it.

A familiar story for many.

"My son promised he wouldn't do that, I believed him, I believed it was something that wasn't going to happen to my family, and it did," said Vicki Olson, a mother.

"Never in a million years did I think this was going to happen in my family, that anyone would do that," said Kathleen Dwyer, a mother, and leader of Sounds of Silence support group.

"You never hear anything about suicide, and suddenly it happened to me," said Crystal Morrison, a mother.

Lives, here, in North Dakota changed in an instant.

"This can happen to anyone. You never know when you get up in the morning what is going to happen before the day is over, and suicide is one of those things," said Dwyer.

And those who have been affected are calling for awareness.

"We need to talk about it more, because it's going to make people aware of what's going on, and make them see signs that they maybe didn't see before," said Olson.

Crystal Morrison lost her 15-year-old son, James, on Sept. 25, 2018.

"We don't hear about the people who have lost their lives to mental illness or teenagers who take their lives, or young children who take their lives because they've been bullied," said Morrison

Others affected by loss, encourage people to acknowledge those who are struggling.

"If you have a family member or friend that is in that situation, be more aware of the little things that people say, the little things they do, or sometimes it's the things they don't do," said Olson.

Because any figure over zero, is too high for those taking their own lives.

"The number of people who die by suicide, I think, is a way to wake people up and have them start thinking about this could happen, this could happen in my family," said Dwyer.

Because everyone of the people represented by those statistics, was loved as a friend or family member.

In the second part of this North Dakota Suicide story we'll look into resources and the help North Dakota has to offer. That airs Thursday night.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, contact the suicide hotline at 1-(800)-273-TALK.

Those looking to get involved in the Sounds of Silence Support Group can contact Brenda Began at 701-426-1021.

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