Suicide Awareness Week brings reminders of UNL Cheerleader to friend

In Nebraska suicide is the second leading cause of death for people 15 to 34. In total it killed more than 250 people in 2016.

This week is Suicide Prevention Week, meant to bring awareness to these statistics and mental health, and for many it hits close to home.

It's been almost three years since Nebraska cheerleader Bri Anson, took her own life when she jumped off a parking garage in Lincoln. This week allows her friends to reflect on her life and the organizations in town to take steps to prevent more tragedies.

Alexa Burmeister was one of Bri's best friends, they even had matching anchor tattoos to signify their struggles with mental health.

"We both struggled with depression and anxiety in my freshman year of college," said Burmeister "so it was definitely a struggle to be best friends but it was really good because we could talk to each other and we kinda knew what each other was feeling"

After college Bri had aspirations to be a teacher. A notion that inspired Burmeister to pursue the career in her honor. She is a third grade teacher in Lincoln now, and always brings a theme of love to her classroom.

"Letting them know that they're loved," said Burmeister "and they're important, and they're capable and cared about I think if we instill those things in children at a young age they can still remember those things even if they struggle when they're older."

Since Bri's death almost three years ago the Lancaster County Suicide Prevention Coalition has installed about 250 signs, that feature messages and the Suicide Hotline's number, in 17 parking garages around town. Group members say in those three years they've seen it pay off.

"People have read them and have made a decision to not jump," said Jan Frayser.

In the years since Bri's death Alexa has had time to reflect and make peace.

"Its no one's fault that this happens," said Burmeister "I think its just kinda the brokenness, that we see in society and in our world and so you do what you can and you love people well"

If you or anyone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.