NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – National Suicide Prevention Week starts tomorrow.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, killing about 47,000 people each year. But many people suffer in silence, because of the stigma.
Bob Gebbia, CEO of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and Alex Boyé, an artist trying to save lives through music, are working to change that.
“The important thing is: It is a preventable cause of death, there’s something we can do about it,” Gebbia told CBS2’s Cindy Hsu on Saturday. “That’s why Suicide Prevention Week is an important time to open that conversation up.”
When it comes to warning signs, Gebbia said you should listen and look for changes in your family or friends’ behavior.
“If they’re talking about feeling like a burden or feeling hopeless, or they don’t want to live anymore, we should take that seriously,” he said. “Those changes in behavior can include things like sleeping too much or too little, increased use of drugs and alcohol – that’s a serious problem. That could be an indication that they’re spiraling down.”
Boyé said his song “Bend Not Break” uses entertainment to get reach kids.
“Sometimes they don’t want to listen in a classroom or listen to someone speak, but I get the same message and use it through music, because it’s very important,” he said.
He also opened up about his own struggle with suicidal thoughts and how a song helped save him.
“I remember thinking, if I could do that same thing to somebody else that happened to me, I feel like I’m doing something good,” he said. “So that’s how it started.”
“Bend Not Break” and “Still Breathing” will be on Boyé’s new album “Coming to Amerika” and part of his national tour speaking with students.
If you’re worried about yourself or someone you know, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also find more information at AFSP.org.