Blog Post

How to Save a Life

September 04, 2018

Debbie Fitzgerald, EdS, LPC, NCC, Director of Crisis Services at Ozark Center
Every 11.7 minutes, someone successfully ends their life.

Someone in the United States attempts suicide every 29 seconds.* Every 11.7 minutes, someone successfully ends their life. The Four States is no exception. In fact, Missouri loses more lives to suicide than car accidents, yet for many of us, an unspoken code of silence surrounds the issue.

Suicide is a heavy subject, and the stigma attached to mental illness keeps many from talking about their thoughts or feelings. These individuals suffer in silence, and many times, those around them are afraid to ask if they are OK.

Although suicidal thoughts can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, religious beliefs and/or background, tragedy can be avoided if the person struggling reaches out to a trained mental health professional. The best thing you can do to help someone struggling with possible life-threatening depression is to become educated about the warning signs of suicide and know what community resources are available.

Warning signs

  • Withdrawing from life
  • Displaying extreme mood swings
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
  • Feeling hopeless with no reason to live
  • Feeling trapped
  • Having unbearable emotional pain
  • Wanting to die or kill oneself

If you recognize these warning signs in yourself, a friend, a co-worker or a loved one, be the change needed to break the code of silence. Talk directly and openly about your concerns. Help the individual get professional counseling treatment to avoid another life lost to suicide.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, Ozark Center’s highly-trained mental health professionals can help. Call the Ozark Center Crisis Line at 417.347.7720 or 800.247.0661 for immediate assistance, day or night. You can also send a text message to 720.7.TXTOZK for an anonymous, two-way counseling session via text message. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is also available 24 hours a day at 800.273.8255.

*American Association of Suicidology


About the Author

Debbie Fitzgerald, EdS, LPC, NCC, is director of crisis services at Ozark Center. She has 34 years of experience in the mental health field, and for the past 30 years, she has served the community through her work at Ozark Center. She has certification from the National Board of Certified Counselors, and crisis worker certification from the American Association of Suicidology.