Cross of Hope honors Joshua Spencer, raises suicide awareness

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DURAND, Ill. (WIFR) -- Each year nearly 45,000 Americans commit suicide according to the Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Now one Stateline family is sharing their own experience in hopes of preventing future deaths.

Joshua Spencer, 26, died in September. In order to honor him, his family gathered at the corner of Best and Rockgrove roads in Durand to place the Cross of Hope in his memory. Friends and family say it serves as a reminder to passers by that no matter what struggles life may bring, there will always be people willing to listen and help. All we have to do is reach out.

"They have to talk. If you're struggling inside you have to talk and tell somebody. Josh would have had a support group beyond his imagination that would have been there for him if he just would have talked," says Spencer's mom Sheila Romey.

Joshua's family and friends say it's important to recognize the signs someone may be struggling with thoughts of suicide, especially because they may not show any physical symptoms.