Local mental health expert: 'Options are out there'

Local mental health expert: 'Options are out there'

(FOX19) - The death of Robin Williams still has many across the world shocked. But it's now a chance and responsibility to look at suicide and it's warning signs.

"Over 39,000 people lose their life to suicide each year and it's probably more than that because it goes unreported," said Michelle Bauer, the Regional Mental Health First Aid Director for Mental Health America of Northern Kentucky and Southwest Ohio.

The Talbert House is a local 24-our suicide crisis hotline. Last year, they received nearly 15,000 phone calls. That's about 40 a day. Not all were necessarily suicidal, but Michelle Bauer is a local expert and says often times people want to sweep their problems under the rug, and the stress can add up.

"I think this is a good opportunity for people to raise awareness, raise hope to people who need it," said Bauer.

Bauer says sometimes finances can deter people from continuing to pursue treatment, but she wants everyone to know, options are out there.

"There's private insurance, there's public assistance insurance so there's ways if you need the help, it's out there," said Bauer.

Bauer says teens are much less likely to be turned away from treatment, and that's where Cathy Strunk is helping. Her son died in a motorcycle accident when he was 19.

"After my loss I was more passionate about saving teens lives," said Cathy Strunk.

Strunk founded "Surviving the Teens", a suicide prevention program at Children's Hospital that offers student training, a parent program and gatekeeper training for school staff and community members.

"It could be grief and loss, it could be being teased or bullied, it could be genetics that contribute to depression," said Strunk.

Cathy Strunk says depression is the major risk factor for suicide. In fact, she says only 30% of depressed teens get help.

"Parents need to be talking to their kids about these issues and teens need to be opening up and talking to her parents about it," said Strunk.

Educating the public on mental health first aid is another push we're seeing on a national and local level. This teaches people how to recognize when someone is dealing with a crisis or internal issues.

There are some great resources you can reach out to here in the Tri-State. We've compiled a list of local agencies, check them out here: http://bit.ly/1sTXv07.

Copyright 2014 WXIX. All rights reserved.