HometownMcLennan County


The Open Conversation: Suicide Awareness and Advocacy

Posted at 5:20 PM, Sep 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-10 14:12:55-04

WACO, Texas — Whether it's you, your family or friends, we are all connected to it.

Each month we aim to have these difficult discussions focusing on different mental health topics. It comes down to this -- if you are struggling, you are not alone.

This month, we want to start this open conversation around suicide.

Looking at numbers nationwide, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, in 2019 suicide was the tenth leading cause of death. For ages 10 to 34, it was the second leading cause of death.

The language we use when talking about suicide is just as important as the actual conversation. Tammy Weppleman, the State Suicide Coordinator, said the terms "commit suicide" or "kill themselves" adds to the stigma. She said using those words is damaging and counterproductive. It makes people not want to talk about their struggles creating more boundaries.

"We do try to use the term died by suicide, or an individual attempted suicide," Weppleman said. "The more people become educated by mental health and about suicide, I think it will break down those barriers."

She told 25 News it comes down to "person-first language." Talking about the person rather than the act itself.


  • Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We're committed to improving crisis services and advancing suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing professional best practices, and building awareness.
      • (800) 273-8255
      • suicidepreventionlifeline.org
  • Crisis Text Line
    • Text "TX" to 741741
  • Waco VA Suicide Hotline
    • (254) 297-3228
  • The Trevor Project
    • Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.
      • (866) 488-7386
      • Text "start" to 67878
  • National LGBTQIA Support Line
    • (9866) 834-4564
  • COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line
    • (833) 986-1919
  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)(link is external) offers a helpful COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide (PDF)(link is external) for individuals with questions or concerns related to COVID-19.
  • Texas Health and Human Services