Suicide Prevention Month

One local woman shares her experience with suicide in an effort to bring awareness and prevention

RAPID CITY, S.D. – September is the month to talk about a tough subject – suicide.

Describes her son as caring and willing to step into any role to help.

For the past 20 years, Carol Snyder hasn’t been able to talk publicly about her son’s death. But now, during National Suicide Prevention Month, she wants to use his story to help others live their lives to the fullest.

“40 years [old], what would he be like, “said Carol. “20 years is a long time to wonder what changes life would have had.”

It was something that hit Carol harder this year than in years past, the year that would have been her son’s 40th birthday.

“It all hits in two weeks because he turned 20 on the 13th and died on the first,” said Carol.

Charlie Snyder died by suicide in 1998.

“Seeing his friends grow up with families and kids, knowing that we’re missing that,” said Carol. “I wonder if people knew what that left behind, that they would not go through with a suicide. People do not realize that they think they’re making things easier, but they’re not. They’re just making it harder.”

Carol describes her son as very caring, always wanting to take care of everybody around him.

Charlie spent two years in the National Guard, willing to step into any role that would help someone else.

But unfortunately, that wasn’t Charlie’s whole story.

“I think he was just scared. He wasn’t feeling good, didn’t know what was going on,” said Carol. “We don’t know, we won’t know. I had no idea he was struggling that much, or that it was anything he was thinking about.”

She says recognizing someone who needs help isn’t always easy. Especially when just talking about suicide isn’t easy either.

“It’s okay to get help,” said Carol. “It’s okay to tell someone you need help. There’s nothing wrong to admit that.”

Even just the smallest gesture, a smile or friendly comment, could mean the difference down the road to someone suffering from depression.

“Take it seriously,” said Carol. “Especially if they’re a young person. They do not know how much life they have ahead of them. Sometimes they can’t see past tomorrow, or today, or even the next hour.”

In the past 10 years, 384 young men just like Charlie have died by suicide in South Dakota. 192 of deaths were in the last year alone, according to the South Dakota Department of Health.

South Dakota alone has one of the highest rates of suicide in the country at 22.1 per 100,000, compared to the national average of 13.9. And every year, 44,000 people in the U.S. die by Suicide.

Carol hopes her story and Charlie’s life changes those statistics.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please reach out to a friend or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8255.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News