Suicide survivor and parent of suicide victim share their stories

MOUNTAIN BROOK, Ala. (WIAT) — Sunday marks the last day of National Suicide Prevention Week. The World Health organization estimates that there are 800,000 suicides globally every year. It is also the second leading cause of death between people ages 15 and 29.

“He has a spectacular laugh. He could light up a whole room,” said Bill Robins, a Mountain Brook dad who lost his son 13 years ago. It was 2001, soon after Sept. 11 and nine months after his mother died, when Todd Robins took his own life.

“It was a very sad Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Robins said. Todd had just turned 17 years old and was in the eleventh grade at Mountain Brook High School.

Todd’s father and siblings, Emily and Carter, still feel the sting from losing their brother, son and friend.

“Suicide hurts and it keeps hurting,” said Robins.

Harry Miree is a Nashville musician who shared his story during Suicide Prevention Week at an AWARE event: held at Crestline Elementary. Miree had just turned 19 when he attempted suicide.

“Everybody wants to take that responsibility on their own shoulders, like; ‘oh if I only could have seen the signs,'” said Miree.

Robins recommends parents watch for signs of despair, substance abuse and difficulty making friends.

“I think the only thing we could have done different would have been to institutionalize him. He certainly did not give any indication that he was at that point,” Robins said.

Miree says it can be very difficult to see those warnings signs.

“The people who are really serious about this, and my case included, do a lot to hide the signs,” Miree said.

“I hope that parents will talk to their kids,” said Robins. “Ask their kids, ‘what do you think about suicide? Would you ever consider anything like that.”

“I think the more listening we can do for to each other, [these problems] can heal easier,” said Miree.

“If parents can talk to their children and have honest conversations with them, I think we can save some. Even saving one or two, that’s worth a lot of conversations,” Robins said.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News

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