When suicide makes national headlines, local health professionals say it can impact those already struggling

DAVENPORT, Iowa  -- After two Parkland shooting survivors and Sandy Hook father died in apparent suicides, local health professionals are reminding people of the importance of providing support to those struggling with suicidal thoughts.

"Some people who are at risk for death by suicide might be more inclined to go through with it, because they see something," Vera French Mental Health Services Dr. Richard Whitaker said."

Whitaker says when death by suicide makes national headlines, they see more people come through their doors. He says people will come in wanting to talk about warning signs or steps they can take to help someone.

"We do have more of those who come in, talking about their concerns about suicide and that's a good thing," Whitaker said.

Whitaker says it's a good thing because talking about depression can help stop suicide.

"It's not something you are going to encourage by mentioning the word suicide," he said. "You are actually encouraging them to talk about it."

In February 2019, an Illinois House panel approved a plan that would require classes on mental health.

In Iowa, a new bill would require health classes to add mental health topics and suicide prevention.

"If we can get that into the schools and help our young people understand what are the warning signs and how do we help...all of those things can be only helpful," Whitaker said.

Vera French offers same day services. Click here for open hours.

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