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Californian’s now facing a pair of wildfires; Also on the Tuesday rundown: Higher education in New Jersey: a racial split; plus food resources still available despite the “public charge” proposal.

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Take 5 to Save Lives: FL Takes Part in Worldwide Suicide Prevention Day

September 8, 2010

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - "Take five to save lives" is the message being delivered in Florida and around the globe as part of Worldwide Suicide Prevention Day, this Friday, Sept. 10.

The National Council for Suicide Prevention is working with multiple groups to raise awareness and provide five simple steps to help prevent suicide. Dr. Dan Reidenberg, managing director of the Council for Suicide Prevention, says the first step is to learn the signs.

"Somebody talking about suicide, writing about suicide, looking for information on the Internet about it; people expressing the feeling of hopelessness, like there's no future for them; somebody who has changes in their substance abuse pattern, on top of mental illness."

There is still a stigma surrounding depression and other forms of mental illness, says Reidenberg, and many people feel they are intruding on others by offering to help. He suggests they overcome their fears and reach out.

"It is much, much better to ask the question than to go to a funeral, and it really is quite that basic. We need to help them – because if they weren't struggling with these illnesses, they wouldn't be thinking like that. And you can actually be – anybody can be – a life support for somebody."

In Florida, suicide is the ninth leading cause of death, with about seven people every day choosing to end their lives. According to Reidenberg, the issue suicide stretches across ethnic, education and socioeconomic lines. His advice is to seek help if you, or someone you know, needs it.

Information about the five steps can be found at www.take5tosavelives.org. A suicide prevention hotline also is available, at 1-800-273- TALK (8255).

Gina Presson , Public News Service - FL