After the tragic news of two prominent people committing suicide last week and the Center for Disease Control’s disturbing report on suicide in America, this isn’t a time to ignore the dark despair that overwhelms many.

Kate Spade, a celebrated fashion designer, took her life — apparently after dealing with a crumbling marriage. CNN’s celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain also ended his life Friday.

These high-profile deaths shattered and stunned many, but experts tell us even the seemingly successful and wealthy can succumb to the black cloud of depression and become suicidal. Almost no one is immune to the problem. You can have it all and feel as if you have nothing.

Also Thursday, the CDC released a troubling report that shows suicide has increased nationwide by more than 25 percent since 1999. In 2016, about 45,000 lives were lost to suicide.

And over half of the suicides were by people who had never been diagnosed with mental health issues, indicating many are not seeking the help that is available.

Montana had the highest increase in the nation, and suicide is a widespread problem in Colorado. The Colorado Health Institute reports that our state struggles with one of the nation’s highest suicide rates. And El Paso County’s rate has long been one of the worst in the state.

The problem has been with us for years and no longer can be ignored. The signs that someone has reached the point of making such a decision are usually depression, lack of interest in social activities, giving away personal possessions or drastic mood shifts. Anything can trigger suicidal thoughts: loss of a job, financial crises, family problems, a death or a breakup.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC said,

“We don’t think every single suicide can be prevented, but many are preventable.”

It’s essential that we understand and address this phenomenon and take advantage of the assistance that is out there.

The National Suicide Prevention lifeline, 1-800-273-8255, will provide free and confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Locally, the Suicide Prevention Partnership of the Pikes Peak Region, 719-573-7447, is a resource. For crisis support in Spanish, call 1-888-628-9454. A multitude of other agencies work to prevent suicide.

There is no reason anyone in our community should feel that no one cares. Countless counselors and advocates are more than ready to help.

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