World Mental Healthy Day

Suicide prevention is the theme of World Mental Health Day, held this year on Oct. 10.

Experts agree that suicide is a serious public health issue that can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families and communities alike. Greenville is no exception.

South Carolina statistics

Neil Sondov, senior therapist at Compass of Carolina, says there were 85 suicide deaths in Greenville County in 2017. That figure is consistent with South Carolina’s average suicide rate, which is 16.3 suicides for every 100,000 people.

This is an increase of 34% from 2006-16 according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. Comparatively, New Jersey is the lowest-ranking state with 7.5 suicides out of 100,000 people, according to the United Health Foundation. South Carolina certainly does not have the highest suicide rate in the country but it does land in the 50th percentile at No. 25.

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control published 2016 suicide data. www.scdhec.gov
Why is World Mental Health Day important?

Sondov says the most important aspect of World Mental Health Day is to remove some of the stigma concerning mental health. He says many people are frightened by mental health issues whether they have a mental disorder or illness or not. Not talking can lead to repressed emotions, which leads to further harmful effects on a person’s ability to tolerate stress or emotional pain.

He said it’s in everyone’s best interest to understand the issues concerning suicide and mental health. Families, friends, peers and co-workers need to provide genuine support and direct help to those who need it. However, these methods are futile if no one knows or can recognize the warning signs of suicidality.

Suicide risk factors

Although risk factors can’t determine or predict if someone will attempt suicide, it’s important to be aware of them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists the following as suicide risks:

  • Family history of suicide.
  • Family history of child maltreatment.
  • Previous suicide attempt(s).
  • History of mental disorders (particularly clinical depression).
  • History of alcohol and substance abuse.
  • Feelings of hopelessness.
  • Impulsive or aggressive tendencies.
  • Local epidemics of suicide.
  • Isolation (a feeling of being cut off from other people).
  • Barriers to accessing mental health treatment.
  • Loss (relational, social, work or financial).
  • Physical illness.
  • Easy access to lethal methods.
  • Unwillingness to seek help because of the stigma attached to mental health and substance abuse disorders or to suicidal thoughts.

Although this is a long list, it is not comprehensive. Sondov said there are other factors that may make a suicide attempt more likely.

World Mental Healthy Day
The World Heath Organization (WHO) published this flyer bringing awareness to the 2019 World Mental Health Day.
Options in Greenville

There are several counseling and therapy centers in Greenville. These offices promote balanced and healthy lifestyles as well as discovering personal strengths and overcoming thoughts of hopelessness or helplessness. Here are a few:

  • Mental Health America of Greenville County
    429 N Main Street, Greenville
    (864) 467-3344
    Open 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays
  • Greenville Mental Health Center
    124 Mallard Street, Greenville
    (864) 241-1040
    Open 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays
  • Piedmont Center for Mental Health Services (multiple locations)
    20 Powderhorn Road, Simpsonville 29681
    (864) 963-3421
    Open 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays
  • Compass of Carolina
    1100 Rutherford Road, Greenville
    (864) 467-3434
    Open 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness of Greenville (NAMI)
    2320 E North Street, Greenville
    (864) 331-3300
    Open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays

For anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, call the local number for Greenville’s CRISISLine at (864) 271-8888. This network provides 24/7 support.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is also available 24/7. Call 1-800-273-8255.

Additionally, the Lifeline’s website includes suicide warning signs as well as information for veterans and local crisis centers: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

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