Suicide prevention: Do you know the signs?

<font size="2">Experts say noticing a person with depression isn't always easy</font>

COLUMBIA (WACH)-Experts say noticing a person with depression isn't always easy.

The recent death of actor Robin Williams hits close to home for not only those in the public eye but those we encounter every day.

Teresa Arnold, tries to hold back tears as she remembers the last moments of her uncle, who took his own life at 52 years old.

"The holidays with the family and he just said he wasn't coming, says Arnold, and [he] turned on the gas."

She says his story and the recent death of williams are very similiar.

"In terms of, just the use of humor, to hide their pain."

Which is why, Arnold didn't see such a tragic ending for her uncle.

"I know that he had said some things like life was very painful for him and that he wasn't sure that he wanted to continue, says Arnold, "but we just didn't take him seriously."

According to Helen Pridgen with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause of death in South Carolina for youth ages 10 to 19 years old.

Nationally, the highest numbers are for those 45 to 64 years old.

The largest percentage are males.

"Its often harder for males to talk about what they're experiencing," says pridgen.

Pridgen adds that there are things that could trigger a loved one is sinking into depression.

"A down feeling, may lose appetite may have trouble with appetite, they have more trouble sleeeping, feels like they're life has become more hopeless"

If you do see these signs, Pridgen says do not be afraid to speak up, "Ask the question. Let them know you care about them, be genuine, don't be judgemental."

Today, Arnold says having that conversation is much easier than it was for her and her family 12 years ago.

"Suicide has had such a stigma and you know families did't want to talk about it, you certainly didn't see references to it when people died, now you do."

If you are in crisis, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)