Local suicide prevention advocate: 'There's a place for you in this world'

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Nearly 45,000 people die each year due to suicide. A new report from the CDC says it's now the tenth-leading cause of death in the U.S.

We've seen multiple reports of students taking their lives due to bullying and an alarming rate of veterans who are battling PTSD committing suicide. However, the latest victims -- Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, who seemed to have it all -- are shedding a new light on a growing problem.

"No life is perfect and no matter what one may see on the outside there's always an inside that can be screaming out for help," said Rusty Lockett, the Co-Chair for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Ohio.

Lockett knows the struggle well. He lost his father to suicide and around 20 years ago he attempted to take his own life.

"Obviously I was unsuccessful cause I'm still here and it was really just swept under the rug. They did nothing and you just went on with your day," he said.

Since that time he has been treated for chronic depression and is now on a mission to help others. Every year the foundation holds the Out of the Darkness walk to raise awareness and money for suicide prevention alerting people of what warning signs to look out for.

"We can see that through various ways like losing sleep or too much sleep. It could be giving away possessions. It could be inducing too much alcohol or drugs," said Lockett.

He is urging those feeling lonely or depressed not to suffer in silence and to reach out for help.

"Often times people have a certain stigma about mental health and I think overall that seems to be out there that if you receive help for mental health treatment that you're lesser than," said Lockett.

He says seeing some of our most creative and talented artists becoming part of the suicide epidemic over the years proves mental illness can impact anyone. He says the right treatments can reverse symptoms so his message to those suffering is don't give up.

"There is a place for you in this world and we want you here," said Lockett.

If you are in crisis or know someone who is, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or text TALK to 741741.

The next Cincinnati Out of the Darkness Community Walks will be October 14. To sign up, visit here.

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