According to the CDC, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States for all ages. Here in Mississippi, we rank 39th in the country for suicide rates.
September is ‘National Suicide Prevention Month.’
Kay Daneault has dedicated her life to helping people who suffer from mental health issues, including those who are dealing with thoughts of suicide, something she knows about from experience. “I’ve had someone in my life who has completed suicide. For the family, it is just so hard and so devastating and people have so many questions.”
Suicide touches the lives of many. According to the CDC, around 123 Americans die by suicide each day and nearly 45,000 people take their own lives each year. There are certain groups of people who are more at risk. “Younger people and older people, so those different spectrums have a higher rate of suicide. You know, again, those are just statistics, so it can happen to anyone no matter what their situation is.”
Daneault says mental illness and suicidal thoughts are common for many people, although not everyone acts on them. She also adds the best thing you can do for someone in a time of crisis is reach out and say something. “The first thing you want to do is ask them, ‘are you thinking about suicide?’ or ‘are you having those thoughts?’ ‘Are you thinking about killing yourself?’ Be very direct which can be uncomfortable.”
You don’t have to deal with these issues alone. Here on the Coast, there are many ways to get professional help for a mental health crisis, including care that comes to you. “Gulf Coast Mental Health has a mobile crisis unit, which is really good. If someone is in a situation where they are in a crisis that team can talk with them and help them navigate and get them to some help.”
The number for the mobile crisis unit is 228-284-6053. For more information visit msmentalhealth.org.