The answer is easy: Ask the hard question.

"You just come out and say it, 'Are you thinking about killing yourself?''' Wright says. "It may be a little uncomfortable, but the worst thing you can do is not ask. If they're not suicidal, it's not like you're going to put the thought in their head. They won't be like, 'Hey, yeah, I think I'll go try that.' But if they are indeed at least considering it, you might just save their life."

The clues should be clear enough. Staying in bed all day. Wild weight fluctuations. Isolation. Loss of interest in things that used to be important.

"It's the blues, but they go on and on and on," Wright says. "It's just constricted thinking that their friends, family and the world would be a better place without them. And sometimes we can be fooled by a sudden burst of energy and productiveness. It might just mean that the suicidal person has finally made up their mind to do it. But in the end, it's an overwhelming feeling of helplessness and hopelessness."

Nothing positive comes from suicide. In the game of life, it's a head coach promptly quitting, the fans and players and staff left to pick up the pieces. Some of you will criticize me for this column; tell me it's not sporty enough on one of the highest-profile sports weekends in Dallas history. You may be right.

But if it helps just one person in mental distress, or motivates a couple buddies to check up on a hurting friend, I'll gladly take the heat.

"A big part of our program is prevention," says Wright, whose center also offers counseling and support groups for victims' families. "It's important to remember that people who have lost a loved one to suicide often become suicidal too."

A phone call. A text. A visit. A hug.


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