Suicide attempts in Valley up 25% from this time last year

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Increase in suicide attempts in the Valley

PHOENIX - The tough economy appears to be taking a deadly toll on people as attempted suicide rates are way up.

Police believe stress over jobs and money is playing a big part in that.

Police are actually calling it frightening telling 3TV more and more people in the Valley are attempting suicides.

3TV talked to one family who went through it and say stress can be deadly.

Dr. Sandy Levitt lights a candle on the Hebrew calendar eve of her sister's death.

Forty-two-year old Gloria Levitt died three years ago. Sandy says, "I never would ever think my sister would commit suicide." Nevertheless, that is what Dr. Levitt said happened to her sister. Gloria was going through a divorce and fighting for custody of her two boys.

The Sunnyslope graduate was a star athlete and fun-loving but her family says stress was too much. Sandy explains, "I think she really felt like there was no way out."

James Holmes, with the Phoenix Police Department, admits, "Well, it's frightening." It is frightening because police say they are seeing more of it. Holmes says, "The attempted suicides are definitely up." They tell 3TV that from 2007 to 2008 attempted suicides went up a staggering 25%.

In just the first three months of this year 61 people have already tried to commit suicide in Phoenix alone. That is another 20% more than the same time last year.

Police say the stresses of our economy are likely a huge culprit. Holmes explains, "Families who are not used to being under the stress of possibly or having lost a job, no income, or taking a job where they're not making as much money as they used to are not prepared to cope with that."

Gloria was coping with losing her job the day she died. Her sister tells 3TV, "She later that day jumped off the overpass in Palo Alto California."

Holmes admits, "It's an issue all of us need to address maybe a little more often in these times."

The Levitts hope Gloria's death can shed some light. If someone tells you they are thinking about committing suicide, you should take them seriously. Talk to them and a counselor.

For more information on suicide prevention, log on to , or call the Maricopa County Suicide/Crisis Hotline at (480) 784-1500.