Personal pain inspires woman's fight to stop suicides

By Eric

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A mission to save lives, one person at a time -- it's a very personal battle for Becca Lynn. She lost her brother more than five years ago, to suicide.

Suicide is the third largest cause of death in the United States for people ages 10 to 24. Police in the Lowcountry say the number of suicides, and suicide attempts, are also on the rise.

Lynn remembers, still quite well, the day her youngest brother died.

"I was at home. I can remember every single detail," she said.

It was in 2006 when she got the tragic news.

"I was like alright, something's wrong, and he told me and I dropped the phone. I was screaming."

Carter Lynn, who was 18, took his own life.

Becca Lynn tells us he had aspirations to become a pilot or an actor, but in his early teen years, after being taken out of and placed into a total of six different schools, he began displaying troubling signs.

"It was like he was constantly getting in trouble, going to the hospital for drug use," Lynn said. "So that's when I kind of told my mom, something needs to happen here."

Lynn says her brother was into alcohol and drugs by the age of 15.

"There were definitely the signs. He was diagnosed bipolar about two months prior to taking his life," she said.

According to Lynn, Carter would also display a roller coaster of emotions, often from very happy to depressed. Carter experienced, what many experts consider, contributing factors.

"Any change of environment is going to be traumatic, even for an adult, but for kids it's even worse," said Dr. Steven Lopez, of Palmetto Behavioral Health. "Switching schools, families that move one place to another, it's tough out there for teenagers to gain new friendships."

Today, Lynn is studying to become a school counselor. In the days after her brother's death, out of her feelings of sadness and anger, grew her desire to help others. She says suicide can be stopped if those who suffer are reached in time.

"Any kind of speculation you have that something's not quite right, they're feeling low or depressed, don't chalk it up as a phase or a stage. Take it seriously," Lynn said.

Friday, the Rotary Club of Charleston is hosting a suicide prevention education event. It's at the Charleston Area Convention Center, in North Charleston, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.