Rising Suicide Rates are Affecting the CNY Community Rising Suicide Rates are Affecting the CNY Community

National Suicide Awareness Month Takes Place this September

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) —Syracuse university student LJ Luba says he spent the past year of his life struggling to get up in the morning, draw, or do other activities he used to love. And according to recent studies, he is not alone. 

“I was just depressed, lonely, bulimic, sickly just unhappy human being,” said LJ Luba on the main mental health struggles he suffered from. 

Boy looking into camera, while photo shows him on screen and in background
Luba looking at camera before the shoot began.
© 2019 Morgan Trau

This is not a new trend, according to Upstate Medical University Professor and Director of the High Risk Program Dr. Robert Gregory.

“It’s really been since 2007, that suicide rates have started to skyrocked,” he said.

Outside the Psychiatry High Risk Program at Upstate Medical University
Outside the Psychiatry High Risk Program at Upstate Medical University, people enter to focus on mental health concerns
© 2019 Morgan Trau

Suicide rates in the United States have doubled since 2000 – but the Syracuse community wants to combat that during this year’s national suicide awareness month. Organizations are urging people to seek out friends to help with loneliness, one of the major symptoms of depression. 

“The kid that I lived with last year is probably one of the few reasons why I’m still here honestly because there were weeks, literally weeks, where he was my only interaction,” said LJ on how being in physical contact with his friend kept him alive.

Two boys sleeping
LJ and his roommate Rob after falling asleep together
© 2019 Morgan Trau

Contact Community Services Program Manager Kristine Knutson said picking up on other’s behavior could help save lives.

“People isolating themselves, changing mood or behavior, sleeping too much, sleeping too little,” she said, listing a few of the signs.

One person commits suicide every 40 seconds, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The warning signs of depression are sometimes hard to read, like oversleeping or subtle mood changes, but activists say it never hurts to ask someone how they are doing.

“If you are picking up signs from them, if you feel in your gut, then chances are they have already had suicidal thoughts. You need to ask. It will not ruin your relationship, it will show you care,” said Knutson.

Contact Syracuse sign urging others to reach out
Contact Syracuse sign urging others to reach out
© 2019 Morgan Trau

Life may be tough at points, but it does get better.

“I’m making upward progress, but I wouldn’t say that I’m great. I have a lot more time to make things better. ”


If you suspect someone may be suicidal:


1. Do not leave the person alone.

2. Remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.

3. Call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or call the CNY number315-251-0600.

4. Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.

Source: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. For more tips and warning signs,click here.



Contact Syracuse

High Risk Program

Onondaga County

NY State

Related Articles