BR suicide prevention experts weigh in on new research

Photo provided by staff.

POSTED: Thursday, July 31, 2014 - 6:12pm

UPDATED: Thursday, July 31, 2014 - 7:21pm

A new study that shows a simple blood test could be the key to preventing suicide, and it could actually help lower rates around the country.

"It certainly helps us because it brings it out of the closet and allows people to talk about it," said Norma Rutledge, the executive director of the Baton Rouge Crisis Intervention Center.

Suicide is something we don't talk about often, but Norma Rutledge said it needs to be.

"We must be talking about it in order to be able to solve it. It's not going to go away on it's own," Ruledge said.

Rutledge has dedicated most of her life to help with suicide prevention in our community.

"I think what I found was that most people really don't want to die. They just don't want to hurt, and they don't know how to avoid the emotional pain," Rutledge explained.

Rutledge said research is one of the keys to prevention. A new study compiled by researchers at John Hopkins University shows blood tests could determine someone's risk for suicide. It could identify a gene that controls how the brain reacts to stress, which is a major factor.

"So any time there's research that helps get the conversation in the public eye, then we are very encouraged by that," Rutledge said.

Rutledge continued to say, they still have a lot of work to do. Suicide rates in East Baton Rouge Parish have stayed the same. This year, the coroner confirmed 34 deaths as a result of suicide, compared to 48 by the end of last year.

But Rutledge said, as a community, we must come together and be a support for those who need it.

"If we can get to them early, then hopefully we can help them find some of the resources that they need in order to not feel like that they're alone in their pain," Rutledge said.

If you or someone you know needs help, you can contact any of the numbers below for free and everything is confidential:

24-Hour Crisis Counseling:

Louisiana 211

Online Emotional Support

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