Experts say it's important to talk about suicide - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Experts say it's important to talk about suicide

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Tuesday, Sept. 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day. Every 40 seconds, someone in this country dies of suicide. In 2010, 372 Iowans took their own lives.

At Lisa King's salon, her niece's presence is well known this week.

"Kayla meant so much to me, because she was so much like me," said King.

On April 20 of this year, Kayla Decker took her own life. She was 21.

"Loosing her has been the worst thing ever in my life," said King.

King says Decker was battling depression, but people not close to her wouldn't have known. She was popular, pretty, and had a bubbly personality.

"We do know that people who struggle with depression or struggle with mental health issues are at a higher risk for suicide, but that doesn't mean that someone who presents themselves to have it all together isn't always suffering," said Meredith Smith, a grief counselor at Cedar Valley Hospice.

Smith heads a survivor of suicide support group and says talking about it is important. She also says using the right terminology is equally important -- someone "dies" of suicide, not "commits" it, for example.

"We don't commit cancer. We die from cancer. We die from a heart attack. And so it tries to level the field in regards to eliminating that stigma," said Smith.

All week, King is raising money at her salon, Hair Biz in Waterloo, for the organization "Alive and Running." That money will go towards suicide awareness.

"I think that the more people that come out and speak that, 'I've had depression' and 'I've dealt with this and that' and 'I've made it through,' the better," she said.

Suicide Support Group: http://www.afsp.org/coping-with-suicide/find-support/find-a-support-group/iowa-support-groups/survivor-s-of-suicide-support-group-waterloo

Alive and Running: http://www.aliveandrunningiowa.com/

Iowa City "Out of the Darkness" Walk: http://jccrisiscenter.org/pages/posts/out-of-the-darkness-walk-2013-262.php

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