Richland County officials discuss suicide rates and what you can do to help others

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) – Richland County Coroner’s Office is talking about recent suicide rates and what can be done to help those in need.

Richland County Coroner Gary Watts says his office has responded to nearly 50 suicides this year, which is on track to surpass last year’s total of 70.

This comes after South Carolina Law Enforcement Division officials say a student at the University of South Carolina committed suicide on-campus on Tuesday

“It’s somewhat a documentation of things leading up to it and then some of those that are just seem like they came out of the blue,” Coroner Watts said.

Dr. Alexandra Kardi from the S.C. Department of Mental Health, explains why some people are not seeking help when it’s widely available.

“We have a culture here, around suicide that is so troubling it actually is part of the problem, which is why people are dying of suicide,” Dr. Kardi said.

She continued by saying that people are less likely to get help if they think others look at them like a bad person or that something is wrong with them.

Authorities say by using compassion oriented conversations and sharing ideas, we can help people get through difficult times and often find assistance for those in need.

Dr. Kardi says it’s very “important that you’re comfortable with identifying pain and loss in somebody. Saying ‘hey I notice you’re in pain, I notice you’ve had loss, [and] are thinking about suicide.'”

Coroner Watts urges people to “speak up, ask the question, because they may not say anything and you may be the only person that sees what you see in your friend.”

If you, a loved one, or a friend need any help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

You can also visit the National Suicide Prevention’s website by clicking here.

The organization will also hold a Twitter chat on World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10 at 2 p.m.

Categories: Local News, News