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Mom of Columbine Shooter on Suicide Warning Signs

Update Date: Jun 17, 2017 02:32 PM EDT

On April 20, 1999, Sue Klebold received an earth-shattering call from officials at Columbine High School.

When Klebold answered the phone, she was told that her son Dylan and his friend Eric had shot and killed 12 students and a teacher, wounding more than 20 others before taking their own lives.

"Before the shootings, I thought of myself as a good mom," Klebold said. "Helping my children become caring, healthy, responsible adults was the most important role of my life. But the tragedy convinced me that I failed as a parent."

"Aside from his father, I was the one person who knew and loved Dylan the most," she continued. "If anyone could have known what was happening, it should have been me, right? But I didn't know."

Is Suicide Preventable?

Theoretically, yes. Suicide is "100 percent preventable." Realistically speaking, however, this simply isn't the case. In fact, many survivors of suicide attempts claim that they gave no warning signs and hid their plans.

"In my personal experience, I didn't give off any warning signs before I attempted suicide aside from being severely depressed for years. I didn't give away things. I didn't make hints that I wouldn't be around some day. I didn't even leave a suicide note during my attempt," a suicide survivor told Alliance of Hope: for suicide loss survivors. "I thought about it lots though and then one day I surprised everyone."

In 2014, suicide ranked as the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 43,000 suicides, and 1.3 million adult suicide attempts happed that year alone.

"If someone is determined to kill themselves, you can't stop them," the survivor added. "You could sedate them or restrain them ... but sooner or later you will have to ease up. And that allows the space for them to commit suicide."

Key Warning Signs Of Suicide

As previously mentioned, most suicide victims do not exhibit any warning signs before committing the act itself. Nonetheless, if your friend or loved one is dealing with one of the following issues, you should encourage him or her to seek help.

  •  Recent breakup of a relationship
  •  Alcohol/substance abuse
  •  Recent job loss
  •  Divorce
  •  Recent death in the family or of a loved one
  •  Recent diagnoses of a life-threatening illness

Other warning signs include what the person in question talks about, their behavior, and their changes in mood. If someone you know mentions being a burden to others, feeling trapped, or feeling worthless, try to react in a compassionate manner. Listen to what they're saying and offer them "an out" with the help of a medical professional.

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