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This week is National Suicide Prevention Week - hear stories from survivors, family, advocates

Posted at 1:01 PM, Sep 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-12 13:05:16-04

It is National Suicide Prevention Week. News 5 cares about how you feel physically and mentally. If you're struggling, please know you're not alone, and people care and want to help.

All this week, you'll be hearing from suicide survivors, family members and friends, and people dealing with mental health issues.

They are sharing their stories to help you find hope.

A dear friend of News 5 is helping to kick things off. Ginger Zee is the chief meteorologist for ABC News; she’s also a mental health advocate.

If you are considering suicide, or you’re concerned about someone you love, please know people are waiting to take your call right now.

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-723-8255

You can also text: 4HOPE to 741741

If you are worried about someone, every case is unique, but experts say the top warnings signs of suicide include:

- Talking about feeling hopeless, being a burden or not wanting to live anymore
- Changes in behavior like sleeping habits, isolating themselves and giving away possessions
- Extreme changes in mood like feeling depressed, anxious or agitated

For more information, visit these helpful links:

There are also some digital resources that may be beneficial to someone who is struggling:

Meet the people sharing their testimonials with us this week to provide you hope and healing.

Ginger Zee, ABC Chief Meteorologist
"I just wanted to check in with you all because I heard you're having whole week of hope and healing when it comes to mental health. It is a subject very near and dear to my heart. I wrote a whole book about my journey. I checked myself into a hospital for mental health right before I started this job. So, it's something I've had a long journey with and will be for a lifetime because it never goes away, but I've certainly learned to manage it, and I hope you can find something within this series. I hope you also live by the words I try to live by now, and that is: The storms don't last forever. They can't and won't. That's not how the atmosphere works and it's not how life works."

"Hi, I'm Josh. I am a suicide survivor. Things have gotten better, but I do still struggle every day. Depression is real and anxiety is real, and sadness is real. But hope is real, and healing is real, and recovery is real too. I talked to my parents about it and some friends. I also reached out to the suicide prevention line a few times. The main way I found help was through mindfulness. Taking a moment in the morning and then at night and doing a self-affirmation. Saying: ‘I really want to be one thing today. What can I be today? Today I am calm. Today I want to be productive. Today I want to be… whatever you want to feel.’ Know that it's okay not to be okay, and healing is on the other side waiting for you.”

"Hi, I'm Jenita. I'm a person living with bipolar disorder. I used to be so depressed that I was suicidal, but in fact I'm not suicidal anymore and I'm happy to be alive. I want everyone to know that treatment works and people do recover. Don't suffer in silence. Please reach out and ask for help. There is help out there. Don't despair. Talk to the person [you believe is struggling] and try to convince them to get help. It is possible for your loved one to get better."

"Hi, I'm Max. I am the executive director of Neuva Luz Urban Resource Center and I'm a local pastor. I have been touched by suicide. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicide, we want you to know that there are many resources here in the greater Cleveland area to help. I want to be true to what I believe. I can tell you with conviction, there are times when we cannot change things and we need a God to help us change those things. I am a trophy of what God can do when you allow God to change your reality. Please look up."

"Hi, I'm Paige. I am 20 years old. When I was 16, I struggled with horrible depression and anxiety that unfortunately resulted in me trying to take my own life. Whenever you feel down, and whenever you feel those thoughts creeping in, please, please talk to somebody. Talking to somebody saved my life. For me, I spoke with my parents. It's a scary thought to explain to your parents that you tried to take your own life, but through their help and support I was able to get a lot better, as I am today. Today, I am doing wonderful. I am in my junior year of college at John Carroll University. I have a great support system of sisters in my sorority, Kappa Delta, and I love all my friends and relationships and I'm very excited to see what the future holds for me. It's really important to be a good ear; listen to people and assist them any way you can. Start a conversation by asking how someone is feeling today or if everything is going okay. Simple questions like that can totally change a person's day and maybe even change their life."