Monday, August 20, 2018

Coroner calls for vigilance following high-profile suicides

Coroner calls for vigilance following high-profile suicides
Posted: Jun 13, 2018
Categories: Front Page, Headlines
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From St. Tammany Parish Coroner Dr. Charles Preston


  The suicide deaths last week of CNN correspondent and author Anthony Bourdain and fashion designer Kate Spade have brought the issue of depression and suicide to the fore, but such events can also trigger a local ripple effect, St. Tammany Parish Coroner Dr. Charles Preston said.
               In 2014, the high-profile suicide of actor Robin Williams saw a dramatic uptick in suicides and suicide attempts in St. Tammany Parish within only two weeks.
               "It may be hard to understand, but many who deal with depression, despair and suicidal impulses can find themselves emboldened by celebrity suicide deaths," Preston said. "While we always take mental health and suicides very seriously, now is a time for the public to be extra alert.
               "Warning signs might include a person talking about suicide or expressing a desire to die, sudden irritability, sleeping too much or too little, increased use or abuse of alcohol, an elevation of mood and many other behavioral changes," Preston said. "To those who see the potential for suicide in friends, family or loved ones, call 211 for resource referral. There is also a free text counseling service; just text 'TALK' to 741-741. If someone is attempting to harm themselves, don't hesitate to call 911. If you believe someone you know is suicidal and they are unwilling or unable to seek help, call the coroner's office at 985-781-1150 and speak to an investigator about the involuntary commitment process.
               "To those who might be pondering suicide, I say this: Pick up the phone, not the gun and not the pill bottle. Suicide is said to be a permanent solution to a temporary problem, but it is really not a solution at all. Though you may be feeling alone and disconnected, you're not. Every suicide leaves significant scars to many, many people - people you care about and don't want to hurt."
               The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has tremendous resources for those dealing with depression, their loved ones, and survivors of suicide. Visit for more information. That National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is also staffed 24/7; call 1-800-273-8355.
               "Our community can and must work together to prevent suicide and save lives," Preston said.