(WKBN) — We are in Mental Health Awareness Month and WKBN is committed to ending the stigma. Katie Cretella with the Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board spoke about suicide prevention because one life is too many to lose to this.

Chelsea Spears: What is something you’re seeing in your job and where you are at with suicide prevention and suicide rates right now?

Katie Cretella, Director of Clinical Services: So, in Trumbull County, thankfully, we have not seen an increase in suicide rates to date. You know, we have our data through March at this point and hoping that we continue to see a decrease, and we have different campaigns currently throughout Trumbull County for Crisis Textline. And ‘Life is better with you here’ to help raise that awareness, decrease the stigma, and encourage individuals to reach out.

Spears: And one way to keep that number from going up and to keep trending downward is to know the signs and symptoms. I think a lot of times parents really need to know what’s going on in their kids’ lives and they want to know what those red flags to watch for are. Can you share some insight on what they should be looking for?

Cretella: Yes. So any changes in behaviors, attitude, you know, looking at are they isolating? Did they are they going from being social and out with their friends, wanting to do different sporting activities or engaging in different community activities? And now they’re isolating more? Any change in their attitude, their thinking? Are they usually a positive thinker? And then now it’s you know, any little thing is setting them off. Any changes in their sleep or their appetite, just looking at how are they behaving and is there anything that you’re recognizing that doesn’t seem like their typical behaviors?

Spears: So, say a mom or dad is listening right now and they just kind of had that aha moment. ‘That’s my kid you just described them.’ What do they do? What’s the next step?

Cretella: Talking to your child, letting them know that it’s OK to open up and asking them, what do you need from me in this moment? Then once your child does open up, I think it’s great to thank them. Thank anybody when they open up to you because being vulnerable, it’s uncomfortable at times and we don’t know how somebody is going to react to us. So, you know, ‘Thank you for trusting me enough to open up and share this with me and how can I help you?’ We have so many great community resources because at times, you know, a child or an adult may not know what they need or they can say what they need. But then it’s like, OK, well, where do we go from here? So, you can call 211 help network. It is a local resource. They have trained mental health professionals to assist with navigating those mental health symptoms. And looking at is this a crisis? Do we need to intervene? How can we help or do we just need to provide resources? And 211 is confidential. So, if the teen, or child, or adult were to call and just say, I just need to talk to somebody, they don’t even need to give their name, and then crisis Textline, they can text a 741741 and they text 4HOPE, and then there’s also online resources where you can get on and do a chat if you’re not comfortable talking to anyone.

Spears: So many different ways, whatever you feel comfortable with and that’s for moms and dads, but also just adults who might be feeling low as well.

Cretella: Yeah, absolutely.

Spears: All right, Katie, thank you so much for joining us to talk about mental health, something that’s so important so we can prevent any more suicides from happening.