For the first time ever, this school year Texas teachers are required to get suicide prevention training. A Houston mother is actually a key reason this new law passed.
It's unbelievable, the experts will tell you, 75% of people who kill themselves first tell someone what they're going to do and they are ignored. Yesterday we told you about 17 year old Ashley Duncan who cried out for help on social media for days before killing herself. Many people just don't believe a person who wants to die by suicide would actually talk about it first but they do. So Linda de Sosa fought and won to change Texas law. "I've been working so hard for this," says de Sosa.
It's now mandatory for all Texas high school and middle school teachers to be trained to spot the signs of a suicidal student. "Frequently they're seeing the child more often than the parents do," de Sosa explains.
Before Linda de Sosa worked so hard to get this state mandate her son Michael de Sosa drove to the tallest bridge in San Diego and parked. "He updated Facebook from the top of the bridge. He wrote…It's been a long time coming. Don't blame yourself" and then the 28 year old jumped to his death. That was December 25, 2009. "He died on Christmas day which means we can no longer celebrate Christmas. The second trees go into stores, which is getting earlier and earlier, I can't even go into grocery stores," de Sosa says.
Actually even before that tragedy, "Without the meds I would have the same intrusive thinking in my mind constantly ‘kill yourself, kill yourself' which is really hard to live with. It's like something gets stuck in the on position," de Sosa explains. That's right she has been battling suicide herself for some time. "It was shocking. I'd be driving and suddenly my hands would be trying to drive me off the bridge," de Sosa admits.
She now takes medication to fight the suicidal thoughts. "I'm kind of in a unique position. I've been on both sides so I know what it feels like. So I know you can survive," explains de Sosa. That's why she has fought hard to get this extra training for teachers. "Among teens in Texas age 15 to 34 suicide is the second leading cause of death," says de Sosa.
That's also why she's speaking out about suicide, to let others know what the red flags are and to encourage those suffering suicidal thoughts to wipeout that hopelessness by getting help. "You can make it through but you have to reach out for help".
Some of the red flags that someone is considering suicide include talking about wanting to kill themselves, looking for ways to do it and feeling hopeless. More people are posting private feelings on-line. If you see someone calling out for help you are encouraged to take it seriously, act immediately, help them get professional medical help and if it's a child tell their parents. You can find help in your area by going to http://www.afsp.org/ or calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
De Sosa also says a major warning is when someone goes into isolation or has a drastic change in behavior. "When I first became suicidal at age 36 within a two week period I was flat on my back in the bed. You could have yelled fire and I wouldn't have been able to get out. So that's a dramatic change," says de Sosa.
A suicide prevention walk called Out of the Darkness will be held November 2, 2013 in the Woodlands. http://www.woodlandsonline.com/evps/evitem.cfm?evid=61753