This is National Mental Illness Prevention Week, and a recent report shows suicide now leads to more deaths than car accidents.
Suicide is also the second leading cause of death among Kent County teenagers.
People in Rockford have felt the impact of suicides this year, and now they're working to prevent more deaths.
Rockford Public Schools recently implemented the "Live, Laugh, Love Club" in coordination with the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan to educate students about mental illness.
The goal now is to get the entire community talking about the issue, to try and erase the stigma surrounding suicide.
That effort started Wednesday night with 200 students, parents, teachers -- and people who have survived suicide attempts.
Susan Campbell says she did not see the warning signs before her son's suicide.
"He was really into computers and liked jazz band in high school," she said.
Her son, James, 16, took his life nearly two years ago in the backyard of their Byron Center home.
"He spent a lot of time in his room and was kind of quiet and moody, but most teenagers are, so I didn't see that as unusual," she said.
James' actions were potential signs of depression, say experts.
Christy Buck, executive director of the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan, led the Rockford discussion on Wednesday. She is trying to get families and schools to watch for those early indicators and report them.
"We know that nine out of ten times the person who takes their life is depressed," she said.
In 2011, 61 people took their lives in Kent County, and six of them were under the age of 19.
According to Healthy Kids 2020 Director Barb Hawkins, there have been 39 suicides so far this year. Four were committed by people under the age of 19 -- including one 12-year-old.
Over the course of last school year, a few districts suffered loses.
"Rockford unfortunately had two [suicide deaths] last year," said Buck. "Jenison had a death by suicide, Forest Hills had a death...but we shouldn't talk it's one community more than another, it's just finally we're talking about it, that's the good thing.
One person talking about it is Roger Beukema of Cedar Springs. He survived his drug addiction and suicide attempt.
"I just decided to commit suicide and I forgot to put a shell in my chamber," he said.
Beukema sees the consequences of suicide first-hand; he works at a funeral home.
"They come to the funeral home to say goodbye to their friends who have committed suicide, and as a funeral assistant, I take them up to the casket and show them the body if it's presentable, and what the effects are. This is a non-returning event," he said.
"I think not talking about it is worse than talking about it," said Campbell.
Campbell is also working to prevent teen suicides.
Nearly every month in her group of family members of suicide victims, she meets a new member.
"It does break my heart, and I see them and see how much they're struggling," she said.
Here's what to look for if you think someone is suffering from depression:
-- they show loss of interest in activities and school
-- they have trouble sleeping and eating
-- and they have sudden mood swings
Buck says 80% of teens won't get help for mental illness because they're too afraid to talk.
She also says those contemplating suicide often give clues on public sites like Facebook.
For more information on suicide and prevention, click here:
Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan
Call this number for help: 1-800-273-8255