Nonprofit works to spread suicide prevention awareness

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — “I think we’re definitely seeing more people come forward but we’re also seeing our suicide rates increase in Greene County,” Stephanie Appleby the executive director for NAMI of Southwest Missouri said.

She says suicidal thoughts, much like mental health conditions, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background.

“We still have that percentage of individuals that feel like they can’t reach out,” Appleby said.

NAMI is using the month of September to spread suicide prevention awareness.

“We try to get involved with folks on social media that are maybe struggling and create a safe space so they feel like they can come forward and discuss,” Appleby said.

Appleby says discussing mental health is just as important as talking about COVID-19.

“We know that masks help well we also know that reaching out for help with depression and anxiety, getting on your medication, those things help as well,” Appleby said.

NAMI offers peer support to people in crisis.

“We have about twenty support groups some of those are virtual some of those are at our office now these people that are running these groups have a mental illness and are in recovery,” Appleby said.

NAMI’s marketing director, Nick Clinton-Elliott, says the group is looking for people willing to share their story to help break the stigma.

“Even within my own family there have been two suicide attempts thankfully we both survived but my family doesn’t want to talk about it and I think whenever someone’s story is kept in the darkness it loses its power,” Clinton-Elliot said.

Along with support groups NAMI also offers certified Missouri peer specialists who can work with someone one-on-one to perform goal-setting.

The non-profit can also help with getting an appointment scheduled with a psychiatrist.

You can learn more about NAMI of Southwest Missouri here.

Help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number 1-800-273-talk (8255).  You can also get help by texting ‘GOT5’ to 741-741.

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