FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The perception of a loved one’s mental health and well-being can be overlooked as sometimes we often cannot believe that people close to our lives could be having troubling thoughts of suicide.

On Wednesday, Stephen ‘tWitch’ Boss, a dancer and TV personality known best for his role in the Ellen DeGeneres Show was found dead in a Los Angeles hotel; on November 20, it was reported that Jason David Frank, the beloved actor mostly known as Tommy the Green Ranger in The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, had also passed away. Both deaths are attributed to suicide.

When people with high-profile names in the world decide to take their own lives, the reaction can be very shocking to those that looked up to and admired them.

YourCentralValley.com spoke with Ken Katz, a licensed clinical social worker, and a participant in the Fresno County Suicide Prevention Collaborative, who told us about the alarming effect these high-profile deaths can have on people working through those kinds of thoughts.

“In general, I think our society has a taboo around suicide – but what happens when someone we hold in high regard or respect a lot dies by suicide, it somehow reduces that taboo and can make it more challenging for someone to use coping skills not to follow through on those kinds of thoughts, because if so and so did it, maybe it’s ok for me to do it,” said Katz.

For anyone struggling with thoughts of suicide, Katz encourages people to reach out to anyone willing to listen. This could be a friend, relative, minister, pastor, rabbi, or really anyone that could provide the support and help that someone might need.

As for those willing to help, Katz encourages them to really listen to what people are saying and to be non-judgmental. They should keep in mind that there is a part of them that still want to live.

“The fact is that most people that are having thoughts about not wanting to live are ambivalent. There is a part of them that still wants to live and we want to help and support people and create an open environment where people feel safe talking to their friends and their loved ones about what’s going on with them, what they are feeling, and experiencing,” said Katz.

For family and friends, these are some of the signs of suicide that you should be aware of according to Fresno Cares.

  • Putting affairs in order
  • Reckless behavior
  • Giving away possessions
  • Changes in sleep
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Talking about wanting to die or suicide
  • Anxiety of agitation
  • Feeling hopeless, depressed, trapped
  • Uncontrolled anger
  • Sudden mood changes
  • No sense of purpose
  • Withdrawal
  • Talking about being a burden to others

If you are in suicidal crisis or emotional distress or are concerned about someone who might be, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available by simply dialing 988. It offers free and confidential emotional support services for people nationwide with a trained counselor 24 hours a day. seven days a week.

Another resource in Fresno is the Crisis Stabilization Unit at 4411 East Kings Canyon Road, where they have help for both adults and youth. While going to any hospital emergency room is also an option, it’s not advisable as they are currently facing high demand for services, but Katz says that would be better than not attempting to get any help.

Katz adds that for too long, weakness has been associated with getting help. He believes that it’s just the opposite. That it takes real strength, bravery, and courage to step forward and ask for help and that friends and family need to be ready to be as supportive as necessary.

“It’s about creating the environment where people feel safe talking about it,” said Katz.

For more information on 988, and other suicide prevention resources in Fresno County, visit FresnoCares.org.