AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– September is National Suicide Prevention month, when mental health advocates, survivors, allies, and communities unite to promote awareness.

CRISIS TEXT LINE: Text HOME to 741741 GA CRISIS LINE: 800-715-4225

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States…. and this is really discouraging because we are living in a time when deaths have dropped significantly from heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. But suicide has actually increased 35% in the last two decades according to the National Institutes of Health.

Suicide numbers for Georgia in 2019:
2nd leading cause of death for ages 25-34
3rd leading cause of death for ages 15-24
4th leading cause of death for ages 35 to 44

Someone who pays a lot of attention to these numbers is Augusta University’s Dr. Martha Tingen.
She is a long time faculty member at MCG and she’s been a guest right here on the Jennie Show several times, talking about vaping and its impact on children and teens.

Dr. Tingen has spent much of her career focusing on prevention, from preventing obesity to preventing cancer. But three years ago, something tragic happened in her family that she couldn’t prevent… and never expected. Her oldest son Nathan, took his life at the age of 33. She says it shook her to her core.

Click to read more about Dr. Tingen’s story in MCG Medicine.

Tingen has used her grief to focus on advocacy. She received $113,000 in funding from the state to help address the suicide rates in Richmond County, which Coroner Mark Bowen’s office tracks as high.

Her awareness campaign includes bags for high school and college students, filled with materials about resources and hope.

You will also find flyers like these in many grocery store carts this month:

Tingen’s hope is that no other family has to endure the tragedy she has lived, in losing her son to suicide.

And remember, if you know someone in crisis, help them stay connected through family, friends, counselors or the National Life Line: 800-273-TALK(8255) OR CRISIS TEXT LINE: Text HOME to 741741 GA CRISIS LINE: 800-715-4225