One organization is working to educate suicide awareness and prevention

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- On average there are about 121 suicides per day. This month is national suicide awareness and prevention month, a time to educate and help those who may be considering suicide. One group working to educate the community on how to prevent suicides and how it impacts families.

Last year in Winnebago County, the number of suicides outnumbered the amount of homicides by 36 percent. The National Alliance on Mental Illness Northern Illinois is looking to decrease those numbers.

NAMI hosts monthly educational meetings on different aspects of mental illness. This month’s topic focuses on suicide awareness and prevention and how it impacts loved ones. Members shares personal experiences and provide a presentation that explains the physical and behavioral warning signs of suicide, and what we can do to help people who may want to hurt themselves. NAMI hopes meetings like this will help lower the number of suicides in our area.

"Our local area here is in a mental health crisis. I think part of that mental health crisis is suicide. We do have high rates of suicide and higher rates of suicide than we do of homicide, and I think that is something that we really need to take a look at to have a healthier community,” said NAMI board member Mary Gubbe Lee.

NAMI is hopeful these meetings will help debunk negative stigmas attached with mental illness. They want people to be able to talk about their struggles so we can work towards prevention.

NAMI also says they want those who attend these meetings walk away feeling hopeful for the future and know that they can help prevent suicide and promote mental health.