Suicide prevention advocate shares her story in hopes to help others as National Suicide Prevention Week wraps up

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LaGRANGE, Ga. (WRBL) – According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, an average of 873 people die by suicide in Georgia each year. Suicide Prevention Advocate, Abby Freeman, said she had her own suicide attempt in 2018 and recalls feeling like she was in the darkest moment of her life prior to her suicide attempt.

“At that moment I knew deep down that I had people or if I said anything I would, but it was honestly like a random thing that crossed my mind one night and like at that time, to me, it seemed like the best option,” said Freeman.

Freeman nearly overdosed on medication that she mixed with alcohol and was recovered by a friend quickly after. She said she remembers not caring if something happened to her and texted a few people short messages just in case. Despite not wanting to take mental health medication after taking it for many years, she agreed and said it has really helped her battle her depression and anxiety.

She thanks all the people that have supported her recovery journey in the last three years including the nurses and patients she met at the mental health service she checked into after her suicide attempt. She also emphasizes how important it is to have people around you that understand things like depression and anxiety.

“Make it a priority to recharge, don’t let it get so bad to where it comes to those thoughts and the actual doing it. Don’t be scared to talk about it, don’t be scared to ask anybody else how they feel,” said Freeman.

Freeman encourages everyone to check on their loved ones constantly. She decided to seek help after that incident and now tells her story in hopes to help others.

Freeman met Nurse Practitioner and Medication Manager, Lauren Hornsby, at the mental health service she check into after her suicide attempt and has been seeing her consistently since 2018.

“You do not want to alienate a person who already has suicidal thoughts. You want to be there for them and to try to understand them in that moment, in that time of pain,” said Hornsby.

Hornsby said in her experience treating people with anxiety and/or depression they tend to have one common similarity which is the feeling of hopelessness. She said people often feel like things will not get better and that results in thoughts on how to take the pain away.

She also said common things to look out for if someone is contemplating taking their own life is erratic behavior like substance abuse and giving away prized possessions as well as, jokes or conversations about death. She encourages people to always ask their loved ones if something is wrong and to never assume.

“We need to have these conversations right here. We need to be able to communicate with our friends and our family in a way that when the time comes if you are hurting or if you are having a mental health crisis that you feel comfortable enough to reach out,” said Hornsby.

Hornsby also encourages people to seek help other than medication if they’re having mental health concerns like therapy and support groups.

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