IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - A real tragedy is unfolding across Idaho in greater numbers than most states.
The Gem State has one of the highest rates of suicide by gun in the nation.
Idaho health officials report that the state's 248 deaths by suicide as of August is similar to 2019's rates.
They say we are one of the top 4 states for the highest rates of suicide by gun.
We talk to a loved one affected by suicide and how he hopes his story will help others who may be suffering.
Adam Friedman's grandfather passed away in 2013.
"My grandfather died by gun suicide when I was 13 years old and to be perfectly frank I didn't really understand or see a lot of the signs that folks normally look for," said Friedman.
He lost his grandfather in the month of September and tells us this is an important time to check in with our loved ones.
"It's important especially right now during COVID when we're all isolated and unsure about the future to really check in the folks you love," said Friedman.
Friedman is part of a campaign called "End family fire." Advocates are coming together to help educate people on how they can fight suicide by firearms.
"Regardless of what someone's going through it's important to just have these kinds of conversations about suicide prevention and specifically the idea of family fire," said Friedman.
He warns us to keep our guns stored locked, unloaded, and separate from ammunition – especially in Idaho.
Freidman tells us those who are suffering from depression are not the only ones affected by suicide.
"As Someone who's experienced that directly what I can say is that the confusion and pain especially as someone who did not know the extent of my grandfather's suffering it was palpable and it was potent. There are tens of thousands of people who died by gun suicide every year leaving behind hundreds of thousands of loved ones. So, to understand what a loved one goes through is to recognize the sheer volume of people who have that experience," said Friedman.
If you or a loved one is suffering from suicidal thoughts resources can be found here.