Lincoln, Neb. - Lincoln Police are investigating at least two high-profile suicide cases over the past few days.
Over the past two decades, the number of suicides across the country has risen, and Nebraska is no exception.
Experts say someone in our state dies every 36 hours from suicide. But, there are resources available for those who are struggling.
Today, Destenie Commuso works with the Mental Health Association to prevent suicide. A few years ago, she too was struggling.
"I've always dealt with like, mental health and suicidal thoughts because of my childhood and it led me into drugs," Commuso said.
In her recovery program, she found help and hope. Now, she uses her story to help others.
"It keeps me in recovery, it keeps me up to date on resources and helps me know I'm not alone," Commuso said.
Commuso's story is not unique. In 2017, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention estimates there were 1.4 million suicide attempts.
"We know suicide is preventable," said Dr. Dave Miers with Bryan Health's Mental Health Services. "It's all about being aware of warning signs and knowing when and how to say something."
Miers says warning signs can include sleeping more or less than normal, lack of appetite, irritability, isolationism, difficulty concentration and any noticeable change in behavior.
"Those are good signs that something might not be right here," Miers said. "That's when we need to start asking questions."
Miers says the key is not to be afraid of asking questions.
"There's this myth that if you talk about suicide it will make that person do it," Miers said. "That's absolutely false. We need to talk about it because most of the time, that's what someone wants. Just to talk about the pain they're going through."
If you are going to ask someone if they're okay, Miers says you need to be prepared.
"You have to be a good listener, and you have to be prepared for what you might hear," Miers said. "That individual may say, 'Yes, actually, I have been contemplating suicide,' and you shouldn't tell them not to feel that way. Just listen and suggest resources to help."
If you or someone you know is struggling, please do not suffer in silence.
"There is hope. there is help, and there is healing out there," Miers said.
Lincoln has several resources available, including:
Lincoln Police Department 911 or 402-441-6000
Bryan West Mental Health Unit 2300 S 16th Street
Centerpointe Crisis Line at 402-475-6695 or text START to 741741
KEYA warm line 402-261-5959