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July 24, 2017

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Joe Downtown Radio: Community reacts to suicide

Joe Downtown Radio

Facing suicide

Joe Schoenmann talks to a downtown resident who attempted suicide about her experiences as well as a licensed therapist who did grief counseling downtown after last week’s death.

Ever thought of killing yourself?

Ever tried it?

Maybe it's shocking to hear those questions. But it's hardly foreign here in Nevada, part of the so-called "Suicide Belt," which also includes Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and other states.

It's a topic of quiet discussion in downtown Las Vegas because a 24-year-old Downtown Project employee died after a fall from his apartment building last week. Investigators are treating it as a suicide.

The young man was well known downtown, a Venture for America fellow who became a fairly integral member of the Downtown Project, the $350 million private redevelopment venture headed by a group of investors including Tony Hsieh, CEO of

His death left friends and acquaintances dumbfounded.

It isn't just the question: Why? It's the guilt. Seeing someone day-in and day-out, people tend to think they know someone. Then something happens and they realize they really didn't know the person at all.

Suicide is so common it shouldn't be a taboo subject anymore. More people died of suicide in 2010 than car accidents, 38,364 to 33,687.

Some other frightening numbers:

• In 2000, suicide was the 11th leading cause of death in the United States. It's edged up 10 years later to 10th.

• Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people.

• About 750,000 people attempt suicide each year in our country.

• One suicide occurs roughly every 14 minutes. By the end of the day, more than 100 people around the United States will die that way.

On this broadcast of the Joe Downtown Show," which airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on KUNV 91.5 FM, and is linked to this story, hear a young, bright downtown entrepreneur talk about how she attempted suicide, why she did and how she got beyond it. And you'll hear from a licensed therapist who did grief counseling downtown after last week's death

Joe Schoenmann doesn’t just cover downtown, he lives and works there. Schoenmann is Greenspun Media Group’s embedded downtown journalist, working from an office in the Emergency Arts building.

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