Suicide is a tragic topic, but we can't avoid talking about is and how it can be prevented. For one woman, a phone call triggered that tough conversation.
"I got a phone call. It was a winter morning, and I got a phone call from a friend who was pregnant at the time. So, when I saw her name I thought it was good, happy news, and then everything changed," says Anne Perry.
That 2007 call is one she will never forget. She was told her dear friend Mark had died by suicide.
"We learned afterwards that he had attempted five years prior, and he went off the medication that he was on. So, to me, as I mentioned before, it was very therapeutic for me to get involved in this and to try to make a difference in his name," she says.
Since Mark's death, Anne makes a difference in many ways. She's an outreach coordinator at Kadima, a nonprofit mental health organization in Southfield. She's also teamed up with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and her recent passion is taking charge of Michigan's largest Out of the Darkness walk. Much more than a simple walk, this event is meant to start real conversation and bring comfort.
"It's incredibly important, I think starting basic conversations. If you recognize someone that you love has something wrong, or isn't right, there is something off about them, you initiate those conversations. You talk to those close to them, family members, urge them to seek help," she says.
Hope was badly needed in 2012 when Jim Adams lost his oldest son to suicide.
"My other son, the first year we walked on [the walk], he was amazed to see the number of kids his age who had lost siblings like he had," says Jim. "So, it was very powerful for him to feel the presence of others and to know that they all had a common bond."
In fact, every day in our country, on average, there are 117 suicides. In Michigan, more than twice as many people die by suicide than by homicide.
Why? There's no single cause, but most often it's depression that's gone undiagnosed or untreated.
Suicide is preventable, if people know what to do.
"My hope is that one day the more people who talk about it the more people who make it acceptable, that we can lift that veil around mental health and hopefully put an end to this," Anne says.
There are hundreds of Out of the Darkness walks that take place all over the country, but the biggest one in Michigan is happening Sunday at Kensington Metro park in Milford. Families are invited to come, FOX 2's Amy Andrews will also be there.
If you are in crisis, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK.
Warning signs can be found here: https://afsp.org/about-suicide/risk-factors-and-warning-signs/