Lawmakers are now unveiling a plan designed to curtail suicides by at least a third in the next seven years.
Brenda Molinaro looks at a quilt showing the faces of suicide. The picture in the middle is of her 15-year-old daughter Jessie who shot herself to death in 1998.
Brenda says she tried to get her daughter help, but no one would take her seriously.
“Most of the doctors just kind of ignored us and said it was typical teen mood swings and not to worry about anything, and I was waiting for another referral from another doctor when she took her life,” Brenda says.
The numbers are stunning. Suicide impacts more than twice as many families in Florida as murder; 44 Floridians die each week from suicide.
Jeb Bush and his wife Columba say it's time for doctors, school officials and lawmakers to start taking the crisis seriously. They're using their roles as Florida's First Family to push for a new statewide office of suicide prevention.
“This is an issue, whether it's difficult to talk about, whether it creates a lot of pain for people, the reminders of the people, basically families to deal with, it's important for us to confront and be involved in,” says Gov. Bush.
If the Legislature gives the go-ahead, the new Office of Suicide Prevention will work to create awareness, provide training and coordinate efforts to teach people what to look for and how to help.
Brenda says education is key. She hopes other families will get the help they need before it's too late.
Florida is the first state in the country to declare an annual "Suicide Prevention Day." Tuesday’s was the second annual observance.
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