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Suicide Prevention

EVANSDALE (KWWL) -- Thursday afternoon a search party found the body of 18-year-old Daniel Hernandez. He went missing earlier this week. Police believe it was a suicide.

It's generally our policy at KWWL not to report on suicides. But with so many friends and family members taking part in the search, we want to help the community learn an important lesson -- suicide is never the answer.

Dozens of Evansdale teens are now faced with a hard reality -- their friend is gone. And although his pain is over, their pain is just beginning.

"Life changes immensely, it will never be the same," explained Black Hawk Grundy Mental Health Center Executive Director Thomas Eachus.

Suicide is among the leading causes of death for young people. And a very real fear, is that friends left behind will turn to the same escape.

"There is a kind of ripple effect. The important thing for those friends and family members of people who do take their own life, is they need to understand that there is also help for them," said Eachus.

The thing is, many people will not ask for help. You have to ask them. If your loved one is discussing suicide, becomes deeply depressed, or has a sudden change in mood, talk to them about their mental state.

"A lot of people are concerned -- they don't want to perhaps mention the word for someone who's depressed. But most people who are suicidal are already thinking it. So the best thing people can do is maybe ask the question: Have you thought about hurting yourself?" explained Eachus.

When you are worried about someone's mental health, it's better to act, than to do nothing. Contact a medical professional, a pastor, or a school counselor for help.

Eachus explained, research shows about 90 percent of people who commit suicide had some kind of mental health problem which could have been diagnosed. Treatment can be very successful -- but the person must be willing to open up about their problems.

"Make the call for them. Go with them to their first appointment. Don't leave them alone," Eachus suggested.

If nothing else, just be there to listen.

"Simply sharing the stress that you have in life is a means by which to start the process of getting over problems," added Eachus.

If you are concerned about someone's mental health, or if you are thinking about suicide, a great place to turn is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline -- 1-800-273-TALK. You can also contact Black Hawk Grundy Mental Health at 319-234-2893. They answer calls 24 hours a day.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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