PHOENIX — It's National Suicide Prevention Month, something that affects all of us and we here at 12 News want to shed light on the resources available to everyone.
The numbers are alarming.
The most recent facts released by the Journal of the American Medical Association show the stats from roughly the last 15 years. The "red" indicates hot spots for suicide. The spike in suicide rates across the country over the years broadens showing more than 450,000 people age 25-64 died by suicide in the United States.
Some studies point to the crumbling mental healthcare system, social media has been blamed in recent years and unfortunately, drugs and alcohol tend to play a factor.
We talked to Andrew Donlevy, who battled suicidal thoughts until getting help right here in the Valley.
"Before I went to the homeless shelter I tried to commit suicide three times, serious, serious attempts," he said.
Andrew, a father of three sitting down with 12 News to send a message of hope.
"You have people around that do love you and there are people who are going to love you even if you don't love yourself," he added.
Andrew's thoughts of suicide stemmed from a heavy alcohol addiction, which he tried to control but relapsed three times.
"The last relapse cost me everything, I finally got a DUI, went to jail three times and lost the respect and almost the relationship with my daughter," Andrew said. "I was fired, I was evicted and I ended up being homeless for 4 months."
But things got worse when it came to Andrew's youngest daughter.
"I had to choose my sobriety over her because she was actively using and had to say you can contact me when you are clean," he said.
After drug use, a bacterial infection and emergency surgery, Andrew's daughter died.
"I used to look at this memory and think it was the most horrible thing in my life I got to spend the last moments of my daughter's life holding her hand," he told 12 News.
After losing his daughter, he was determined to make a difference.
"She's changed my life and encouraged me, she's given me strength and now my life has taken a turn, you ask me six months ago if I'd be doing what I'm doing today I would've not believed you," he added.
He's an advocate for addicts and works closely with Valley of Hope, a treatment center aimed at curbing addiction with compassion and concentrated patient care.
AHCCS Suicide and Crisis Hotlines
These Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System hotlines are offered by county by the state's Medicaid agency:
- Maricopa County served by Mercy Care:
1-800-631-1314 or 602-222-9444
- Cochise, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz and Yuma Counties served by Arizona Complete Health - Complete Care Plan:
- Apache, Coconino, Gila, Mohave, Navajo and Yavapai Counties served by Steward Health Choice Arizona:
- Gila River and Ak-Chin Indian Communities:
- Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
If you are in need of immediate help, you can call 911 or reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741, or chat with someone online.