HAYWOOD, N.C. (WSPA) – More than one third of Haywood County adults who called the National Suicide Hotline reported having experienced symptoms of chronic depression.

Established in 2005, the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline provides free confidential support for people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

In 2022, the hotline changed its number to 988 to make it easier for people in distress to get help.

According to data released by the Haywood County Health and Human Services, 36% of Haywood County residents to call the hotline in 2021 reported experiencing symptoms of chronic depression. Another 6% reported having considered suicide and nearly a quarter of callers – 23% – had seven days of poor mental health in a one-month period.

“According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 5 Americans will experience a mental
illness in a given year and 1 in 25 Americans lives with a serious mental illness,” said Sarah Henderson, Haywood County Public Health Services Director.

Henderson said suicide is the leading cause of death for people ages 10–34.

“From April 2020 through April 2021, over 100,000 people died from drug overdoses. While there is no single cause for mental illness, adverse life experiences, chronic medical conditions, and substance use can contribute to our risk for mental illness. For those who may experience mental health related distress, early intervention is key,” she said. “People need to know that they are not alone.”

Anyone experiencing a mental health crisis can call or text the 988 or go online to get support.