The data showed 50,000 Americans died by suicide last year. According to the CDC, 480 Mississippians took their own lives in 2021.
“The purpose of 988 is to make it easier to reach out for support by making it an easier number to be able to have people have a support before they reach a crisis state and also to help with the overburdened emergency room admissions that we’re currently managing right now and to also normalize reaching out for help,” explained Brenda Patterson, executive director of The Crisis Line.
The mission of the 988 Crisis Line is to listen, counsel, and provide resources and emotional support to those in need. The 24/7 call center served 74 out of 82 counties in Mississippi.
“That 80% of the calls to 988 are managed within the call, and then it’s that other 20% that we do a warm handoff to the Regional Mental Health Center Mobile Crisis Team,” said Patterson.
Families as Allies is a local resource that assists youth and their families. Executive Director Joy Hogge said there are warning signs to look for if someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide.
“Dramatic personality changes. You know, if the child is normally outgoing, and they seem very withdrawn or even vice versa, and then if they’re withdrawing from activities and not wanting to do things, if they seem more irritable than usual, and it’s lasting for a while, not just somebody having a bad day,” explained Hogge.
Children and young adults, 10 to 24, saw the largest decrease in suicides with a decline of 8.4%.