Mental health advocates push for suicide prevention

KeepHealthCare.ORG – Mental health advocates push for suicide prevention

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) – Communities across the U.S. are having serious conversations about mental health and suicide prevention following the recent suicides of fashion designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain. Calls to suicide crisis hotlines have increased 25-to-30 percent since the deaths of Spade and Bourdain.

Locally, mental health professionals are urging families to learn the warning signs of severe depression before it’s too late.

“Well definitely is someone says to you that they want to harm themselves, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Also feeling as if they don’t have any options feeling burdened, feeling alone. You know just having a lot of things going on in their lives. Especially in our culture today could be divorces, feelings of rejections, there are a lot of factors that go into that,” said Crisis Response Coordinator Wynter Ward.

There are potentially life-saving resources right here in our area. Similar agencies like Care Lodge and the Mississippi Department of Health, are choices people can turn to.

“Even though we’re domestic violence, we have those resources so if they call suicide prevention, rape crisis, whatever their issue may be, we have the appropriate referrals that we can make to them,” said Leslie Payne, Executive Director of Care Lodge.

The Crisis Response Team at Weems is one of several other options. The team is made up of a group of mental health professionals available 24/7 to help anyone in need. All it takes is for someone to reach out and ask.

“We’re all living. Life touches all of us. And that’s something we all have to remember is that every individual struggle is relative to them, however pain is pain,” said Ward.

Ward says it always important to check on your “strong” friend as well. She says mental health shows no favoritism and can affect anyone at any time.

“Strong individuals are the ones that exist in a room and everyone feels as if they have it all together. So a lot times they can be suffering in silence. So it’s very important that you check on the individuals that you feel like have everything managed and taken care of,” said Ward.

If you or someone you know needs immediate help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or you can call the Weems Crisis Response Team at 1-800-803-0245.


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