They also screen to see if patients are considering suicide, an important fail safe, since loved ones don't always recognize red flags, such as talking about being a burden to others, increased alcohol or drug intake or extreme mood swings.
The problem becomes even more serious when it involves kids, who unfortunately aren't exempt. Young people are more difficult to read, Malone said, because adults "don't understand them" or think the problem is hormonal.
While suicide was the 10th leading cause of death for adults in 2010, it was third for people 24 or younger, accounting for nearly 5,000 deaths in the U.S. that year. Of those, 274 were under the age of 15.
Kids and teens have stressors too, McNeany said. Many are in the school or home environments, such as "conflict with the parents, maybe their parents are getting separated or divorced," she said.
Those things affect everyone in the household. But then again, so does suicide.
According to the CDC report, each one impacts an estimated six people, minimum. Considering the 796,672 suicides in the U.S. between 1986 and 2010, there are at least 4.78 million people — one in 65 Americans — whose friend or family member has taken his or her own life.
In an odd way, that might be reassuring. It means no one, no matter how isolated they feel, is ever truly alone, James said.
"It's going to affect everybody, not just you," he said. "There's always somebody (who cares), whether you know it or not."
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Red flags indicating someone might be considering suicide: -- Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves. -- Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online or buying a gun -- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live. -- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain. -- Talking about being a burden to others. -- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs. -- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly. -- Sleeping too little or too much. -- Withdrawing or isolating themselves. -- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge. -- Displaying extreme mood swings. SOURCE: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Need to talk? If you're having suicidal thoughts, reach out. Talk to family, friends or medical professionals, such as the behavioral health team at the Madison County Community Health Center. Its number is 442-0562. Another option is dialing 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which has operators ready to talk 24/7. That number is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). By the numbers Suicides Rate Madison County 28 20.73 E. Central Indiana 92 14.2 Nationwide 38,364 12.4 SOURCE: 2010 data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention