Last week, Cindy and George's attorney called 911 to report that George had been missing for several hours. He said the grandfather had left the house with bottles of pills and pictures. During his disappearance, George sent text messages indicating he wanted to end his life and be with his granddaughter. Law enforcement traced George's cell phone activity to an area in Daytona Beach, Florida, and he was found in a motel room with bottles of pills and what seemed to be suicide notes.
Dr. Phil sits down with Dr. Thomas Joiner, author of Why People Die by Suicide and, "What do you think is going on in this situation?"
"It's been a very tumultuous several months for Mr. Anthony, and I think it's layer upon layer of negative life stress," he says, adding that it's caused George to have a major depressive episode. "Those episodes are often characterized by ideas about suicide."
"There were things that may have pushed him to this point, right?" Dr. Phil asks Dr. Joiner.
"That's a very reasonable way to view it," he says. "He withstood first the death of Caylee, then the indictment of Casey, and layer upon layer. Not everybody can withstand that level of life stress, and finally he reached a point where it was just too much, and it got to him."
With a suffering economy and unemployment rates rising in America, many people are stressed and feel as if they're backed into a corner. Recently, the pressure became too difficult for Ervin and Ana Lupoe, a mother and father from Wilmington, California, after they had both been laid off from their jobs. Ervin allegedly shot and killed his five children, his wife and then himself in a tragic murder suicide.
"Talk to me about what's going on in the mind of someone who is suicidal," Dr. Phil says to Dr. Joiner. "We don't know that the wife was complicit in this, but he says that she was."
"It's conceivable that both of them were experiencing the same mental disorders. Those things do tend to bring people together," Dr. Joiner says. "They may have both been that depressed, and when you're that depressed, the idea of leaving your kids behind doesn't seem like something you should do. There's a weird logic to it, where it seems like it's even merciful to go ahead and take them with you. As distorted and disturbed as that is, that's what I think this man felt."
"Isn't it true that most people who become suicidal, if they don't take their own life " and most don't " later things seem much better if they'll just get through that crisis?" Dr. Phil asks.
"Yes, Sir. There's no doubt about that," Dr. Joiner replies.
"What do you watch for to know if somebody is at risk of taking their own life?" Dr. Phil asks.
"Dramatic changes in behavior for the worse. Of course, clear signs like them saying they intend to kill themselves," he says. "People who talk about it do it. That's a very important principle. Behaviors like giving away your possessions, making a will. These are very obvious things, but you'd be surprised at how often they're overlooked."
If you're thinking about ending your life or worried about a loved one, call the National Suicide Hotline at (800) 273-TALK.
"Talk, talk, talk to other people, because you are not alone out there," Dr. Phil says.
Read more about suicide warning signs.