New study shows suicides kill more Americans than car accidents

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – According to a national study, more Americans commit suicide than die in car crashes.

According to the American Journal of Public Health, over the last 10 years, suicides have increased by 10 percent, and fatal car crashes have declined by 25 percent.

The study points to hard economic times as a leading cause of the suicide increase, and local doctors say the increase of untreated severe depression may be triggered by the loss of a loved one or loss of a job.

In 2009, more than 37,000 Americans took their own lives, but what can be done to help stop these numbers from increasing?

Dr. Phil Hestand, with the Counseling Center at Arkansas State University, explains it's more important now than ever to look for warning signs.

"Things like 'Well, it'd be better off if I wasn't around.' They start giving things away that are important to them and saying 'You know, I'm not gonna need this anymore. You can have it,'" said Dr. Hestand. "We should take things seriously."

"At St. Bernard's, we offer inpatient and outpatient services in the clinic. We see those that are not actively suicidal but are battling depression," explains psychiatrist Dr. John Burnett. "Our goal is to treat that early and prevent suicide.

If someone you know is showing those signs, confront them and get them help immediately.

You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255, or go to to get help.

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