Suicide Prevention Week recognized in Arizona

Governor’s office says 1,438 lives lost in 2020 to suicide

Suicide Prevention Week

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Governor Doug Ducey’s office is recognizing September 6-12 as Suicide Prevention Week for the state. The proclamation said 1,438 lives have been lost or approximately one life every six hours to suicide in Arizona this year. National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month lasts for the entire month of September.

“Anytime, especially during the pandemic, it’s really important for people to pay attention to other people and see how people’s mood is," said Kady Walker, a suicide prevention coordinator at the VA in Tucson.

COVID-19, a time of isolation for many, has brought more concerns surrounding mental health.

The VA hopes to remind veterans and their loved ones about what they can do when experiencing difficult times.

“Check in with them whether that’s a phone call or a text message," Walker said. "Just ask how they’re doing in general. People are going through so many stressors.”

Loved ones can watch out for red flags such as hopelessness, anger or increased drug and alcohol use. Find a full list, here.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness, also referred to as NAMI, is another resource and can connect people with advocates in southern Arizona.

“I myself live with bipolar disorder and my mother also had bipolar disorder and struggled with mental health," said Lisa Cole, an advocate for NAMI. "It’s an issue that’s really personally important to me.”

Cole works with many people including veterans.

“This is like a dream job for me because I know every single day that I’m doing something good and helping people," she said.

She said NAMI advocates have a personal tie to the cause.

“Some kind of connection with mental health and mental health disorders whether we ourselves are living with it or we’re family support members," she said.

Contact the NAMI Southern Arizona office at (520) 622-5582. To call the Veteran’s Crisis Line, dial 1-800-273-8255 and press 1.

Copyright 2020 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.