Suicides Have Increased Dramatically This Year in Benton County - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Suicides Have Increased Dramatically This Year in Benton County

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TRI-CITIES, Wash-- The Benton County Coroner says suicides have increased this year dramatically. Compared to last year's suicide rate, this year there have been three times as many.

Most people would think it's the bad economy pushing people over the edge, but that's not the case. Most of these suicides are stemming from depression and relationship issues.

KNDU talked to the Benton County Coroner as well as the Crisis Response Center for Benton-and Franklin County to get answers.

It's is a place no one want to see their loved one, dead in the autopsy room at the coroners office, but Rick Corson, says it's a scene all to familiar this year for suicides.

"There are eight males and two females who have committed suicides in 2009," said Corson.

From just January to March there have already been 10 suicides and that's a dramatic increase from years past. Many people think it's those who are younger that are most vulnerable to suicide, but most are above 50. Seven were done by gunshots and three were actually by hanging.

"A lot of times there is no real definite answer, the family can't explain it, they didn't see it coming so the why is the big question," said Corson.

Looking at each case individually, not one seemed to be in direct correlation to the economy.

"Very seldom has economy or finances come up, I would say it's more relationship issues," said Corson.

The coroner can only say the facts, so I went to the crisis center to see what they think is going on.

"The majority of the people that carry this out don't want to die, but it's too painful to keep going with the circumstances the way they are," said Ed Thornbrugh, Manager at the Crisis Center.

Break-ups, divorces, domestic violence, depression are problems that could push someone over the edge and alcohol plays a major role.

"Sobriety is the foundation for safety for somebody who is severally depressed and contemplating suicide," said Thornbrugh.

If you know of someone who is very depressed, besides trying to help them the crisis counselors say keep them away from alcohol. Most suicides happen when the person is intoxicated and it takes away the barriers that would keep a person from doing this.