HASTINGS – Thursday, September 10th, is World Suicide Prevention Day and the South Heartland District Health Department is saying that suicide is always a concern, especially with the current pandemic going on. With the economic impacts and isolation being a major concern for mental health, the department is saying that suicide is something we all need to work on to prevent.
Michele Bever, the Executive Director of the Health Departments, says that 13 percent of high school students in the area reported a suicide attempt in 2016, compared to eight percent for the rest of the state.
Nearly 20 percent of adults in the south heartland area have reported that they have ever been told that they have depression by a healthcare official. And then, another interesting thing was that, 21 percent of our 10th graders and 23 percent of our 12th graders in the south heartland area reported that they would not go to anyone if they were feeling depressed or suicidal.
The report for the current year says that there were elevated mental health conditions associated with the pandemic. The report also said that minorities, health care workers and caregivers, and other essential workers reported poor mental health outcomes and increased substance abuse issues.
South Heartland District Health Department does offer suicide prevention classes and they are encouraging people to take them. The training is called QPR, question, persuade, and refer.
You learn how to question a person about suicide. The persuade, you learn how to persuade someone to get help. And then the refer, how to refer someone to the appropriate resources.
The department also says that suicide was an issue before the pandemic and will be after as well.
To learn more about the course and the other suicide prevention options, people can check out their website, SouthHeartlandHealth.org or call them at 1-877-238-7595. The training is about an hour to an hour and half long.