New suicide prevention plan rolled out after concerning 2020 numbers

Local News

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – The South Carolina Suicide Prevention Coalition is rolling out a new plan for 2022 in an effort to reach their goal of zero suicides in the state.

Data shows an increase in suicides over the last year for the age group spanning from 10 to 34.

The most impacted by suicides are the Black, Indian and Hispanic communities.

“It was just a very difficult last 20 months. Whether it was the pandemic or natural disasters, economic concerns, fear, anxiety.”  South Carolina Department of Mental Health Director of Suicide Prevention Jennifer Butler said.

The department said deaths from overdoses in South Carolina are predicted to be up over 50% from 2019.

That’s compared to a 30% increase nationwide.

“A lot of times folks turned to substances as a way of coping, getting through and dealing with emotions that they weren’t getting treatment for at the time,” Butler said.

Because of those numbers, the suicide prevention coalition is introducing a new plan for 2022.

The plan highlights helpful language around suicide, identifying vulnerable populations and action steps towards prevention.

“It really focuses on how can community members, every South Carolinian step in to prevent suicide. How can we increase resources to best practice care, decrease those barriers, finances, transportation, some of those other things that get in the way,” Butler said.

The Department of Mental Health said they want all suicide prevention organizations across the state to work together with the same mission.

“Make sure individuals know where to go for both substance use as well as mental health and actually creating those partnerships where you don’t have to go to a certain place necessarily for one or the other, but we’re all working collaboratively together,” Butler said.

The Department of Mental Health also talked about the importance of having mental health resources in the workplace, especially amid COVID-19. They said DHEC has paved the way in South Carolina for companies to provide great resources to employees.

If you need help or know someone who needs help, the universal hotline for suicide prevention is 1-800-273-8255.

The 9-8-8 hotline does not go into effect until 2022.

For addition help, click here.

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