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Suicide Rates Are Rising In Florida, Nation

Pixino.com

A new report shows that the rate of suicide is increasing in Florida, and across the country. It comes as the nation mourns the suicides of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain and fashion icon Kate Spade. WUSF's Jessica Meszaros spoke with the director of organzational development for the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay,Mordecai Dixon, about what the rise means.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that since 1999, suicides have increased by 10.6 percent in Florida, and by 25.4 percent nationally. Dixon said the numbers don't surprise him. People may see behavior indicating suicidal thoughts and dismiss it as "just a phase."

"We fall into these biases, opposed to really asking, 'What's going on?' Let's talk about what's really going on," Dixon said. "The social stigma is more of what's binding these rates than anything else."

He said states, like Florida, need to educate people to take away the stigma. 

People struggling with suicidal thoughts can get help 24 hours a day by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or by dialing 2-1-1. 

My main role for WUSF is to report on climate change and the environment, while taking part in NPR’s High-Impact Climate Change Team. I’m also a participant of the Florida Climate Change Reporting Network.