Pine Belt mental health workers say technology and training key to suicide prevention


HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) – According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10 to 34.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness and reminding people that help is available.

Dr. Christina Williams, a clinical psychologist at Pine Grove Mental Health, said new technologies and online platforms are valuable resources for communicating with people suffering from suicidal thoughts or ideation. They are often the first point of contact with patients.

“People can access these YouTube videos that talk about suicide, a bit of education, and some tools that people can use,” Williams said. “It’s really helpful if they can’t see a supplier right away. Maybe they just have a few questions that they might not feel comfortable talking to someone about yet. Maybe they can just go to their computer and get some of those answers and resources.

Although the Internet is a good place to find mental health resources, many people still need additional care.

Connie Bienvenu, Mobile Crisis Response Teams Coordinator for Pine Belt Mental Health, said their organization’s ultimate goal is to provide community-based crisis services that offer focused behavioral health assessments and stabilization. solution-oriented and recovery-oriented.

“We train police officers in what’s called crisis intervention team skills, also known as CITs,” Bienvenu said. “These officers assist us in the field by identifying mental health crises, referring individuals to treatment or referring them to my team where we refer them to services.

Williams and Bienvenu also said that suicide prevention includes being aware of the signs that a person is having suicidal thoughts, such as withdrawal and isolation, and that it’s okay to ask the person questions, but the thing the most important thing to remember is to listen.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please contact a mental health professional or call the new suicide hotline at 988 to access available resources.

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