Vicksburg mental health professionals comment on change to suicide prevention hotline – The Vicksburg Post

Mental health remains a serious issue in society, and Warren County mental health professionals are encouraging sufferers to seek help before it’s too late.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline changed its number to 988 on July 16.

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline provides free, confidential 24/7 assistance to people in distress. According to the official 988 Lifeline website, when people call, text, or chat with the three-digit 988 phone number, they will be connected to trained counselors who are part of the existing Lifeline network. These trained counselors will listen to them, understand how their issues affect them, provide support, and connect them to resources if needed.

However, this national organization is not the only one to offer mental health services. Warren County residents also have several local options available to them.

“I would say 988 has its specific purpose as a (method of) suicide prevention, but we also answer our phones anytime, 24/7,” said Jeanine Hanks, director of outpatient services at Warren-Yazoo Behavioral Health. “After 5 p.m., a hotline can put you in touch with an advisor. “

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, suicide is the second leading cause of death among children aged 10-14 and 25-34, the third leading cause of death among people aged 15-24 and fourth. leading cause of death in people aged 35 to 44.

Hanks said some key warning signs can include major personality changes, loss of interest in activities one once enjoyed, extreme irritability and the expression of vague statements like “Life is too hard. or “I don’t want to be here anymore”.

If anyone hears a loved one say those phrases or has those thoughts themselves, Hanks said it’s time to ask questions.

  1. How can I help you?
  2. Do you think about hurting yourself?
  3. Are you thinking of committing suicide?

“We always tell everyone to ask in different ways, but be very specific and ask and say it with confidence,” Hanks said.

And unfortunately, she says, suicide rates are getting younger and younger. Hanks said the school’s IT departments referred him to his office because of students using their school’s network looking for ways to kill themselves.

“We received multiple suicide assessments because of what they were writing or researching on their computers,” Hanks said. “So we’re not looking at just one symptom; we are looking at a collection of symptoms. It has nothing to do with the level of education. They may be high achievers and doing very well, but their anxiety levels (may also be high).

Hanks said she doesn’t have a definitive answer as to why teen suicide rates are high, but she thinks it might have something to do with social media.

“Kids are constantly bombarded with what’s ‘what you’re supposed to look like,'” Hanks said. “Bullying is so much easier with social media. You can’t escape a bully now because they follow your social media accounts everywhere you go, so you can’t really change schools or that kind of thing. things because people can still reach you.

Walter Frazier runs the Grace Christian Counseling Center, located at 1414 Cherry St. in Vicksburg, and encourages seeking help before suicidal thoughts become overwhelming.

“Seeking help can mean confiding in a friend or co-worker, talking to a professional, or contacting your church pastor,” Frazier said.

Frazier said that sometimes in the South, religion is a coping mechanism for a large group of people. Frazier mentioned that sometimes people associate good faith with good mental health, but the two don’t always coincide.

Most mental health issues have their fair share of myths and suicide is no different, he said, with one myth that thereYoung people who talk about suicide never attempt suicide or die by suicide. However, the fact is, ttalking about suicide can be a cry for help and can be a late sign in the progression towards a suicide attempt.

Another myth mentioned by Frazier is that talking about suicide or asking someone if they feel suicidal will encourage suicide attempts when in fact, tTalking about suicide provides an opportunity to communicate.

If you or a loved one are contemplating suicide, please call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or contact a local mental health professional.

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