LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - On Thursday, a striking visual representation of the 571 Arkansans who committed suicide in 2016 was displayed on the State Capitol steps.
Volunteers with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention placed the luminaries on the steps. Of the 571, 108 had an American flag to represent the veterans who took their lives.
Those volunteers also spoke with legislators on Thursday about the importance of House Bill 1775. The bill which was filed this week, hopes to establish a suicide prevention hotline for Arkansans.
Currently, any call made to a suicide hotline are answered by someone out of state and out of touch with local resources.
"It's the people we sit next to at church, it's our family members, it's our kids, our college students that need this resource," said Tyler West with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. "We can no longer look past this, no longer look over this. We have to address this issue."
Arkansas ranks 10th for most suicides every year in the United States.
HB1775 is currently in the House committee on public health.