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CDC Report: Suicide Rates Going Up Nationwide

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The number of suicides is increasing across the country, according to a recent report by the Center for Disease Control.

This report was released just as another celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain died by suicide this Friday. 

Susie Henderson, vice president of special projects at Burrell Behavioral Health, says there is a teachable moment in this tragedy; when the death of a high-profile individual brings the topic of suicide to the surface, it creates an opportunity to talk about it and work towards normalizing mental health and its prevention. 

"The important thing is to talk about it," Henderson said.  

She's worked in the mental health industry for more than 30 years. 

"Sometimes we feel that if we talk about it, that someone may commit suicide, and yet really the opposite is true," Henderson said. 

She says concerned loved ones shouldn't be afraid to start a conversation about mental health or suicide. 

"Even if they don't say yes, they've heard it from you, that there's someone that cares, that is concerned because then it could be that later when I'm thinking about this that maybe I'll call you," she said. 

A recent study by the CDC shows that in 2016, nearly 45,000 Americans age 10 or older died by suicide. 

From 1999 to 2016, both Missouri and Arkansas saw an increase of 36 percent in suicide deaths. 

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. But the signs aren't always clear. 

"They can be really sad to really irritable, or sleeping a lot, so changes in behavior," Henderson said. "Another person may feel some of those very same things, but I cover it up better, I put a smile on my face, I go to work, I gotta do this." 

Researchers found that more than half of people who died by suicide did not have a diagnosed mental health condition.

Multiple factors can lead to a person making that choice. 

"A person doesn't become suicidal without some other things going on," Henderson said.  

The top contributing factors listed in the report were relationship problems, a period of crisis and substance misuse.

Henderson says decreasing these numbers will start by talking about mental health the same way we talk about physical health. 

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