NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Suicide and suicide prevention have been on the minds of many in these days after the startling deaths of fashion designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bordain.

But according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week, suicide rates nationwide have been steadily increasing — by more than 25-percent since 1999.

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Dr. Christine Moutier, Chief Medical Officer of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention says, more than anything, the past week has shown that suicide doesn’t discriminate and can potentially affect anyone.

“As human beings we’re prone to many things in the human condition,” says Moutier, “We all face challenges and some of us – to no fault of our own – have a genetic loading for different things like depression, anxiety, addiction and even suicide risks specifically.”

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And Moutier says when it comes to warning signs, it’s important to look beyond the classic symptoms of depression and hopelessness. She says such subtle symptoms as someone losing their temper more easily or whose sleep patterns and normal behavior have changed should prompt a caring conversation that might avert a potential tragedy.

“What we’ve tended to do,” says Moutier, “is to ‘avoid’ because we don’t know what to say and we don’t want to offend… and we’ve been too quick to write things off to the stress of the day or what’s going on in their life, but having a caring conversation is always a positive.”

Experts say something as simple as a caring conversation can be a game-changer for someone considering suicide, but there remains a need for more research and a greater investment in suicide prevention for rates to truly begin to decline.

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