Suicide Deaths on the Rise in Louisiana Amid Pandemic
After having a conversation with a police officer I walked away worried. The comment she made sent chills down my spine. "Suicide rates are at an all-time high in Shreveport, I've never seen so many suicides.". It has been a thought running through my mind all week so I decided to take a look at the numbers for myself and Louisiana's numbers are depressing.
According to America's Health Rankings, Louisiana is seeing some staggering numbers when it comes to preteens. Did you know that suicide is the second-leading cause of death for ages 10-14? It's not looking good in Louisiana, in 2017, 722 people lost their lives to suicide. Keep in mind these numbers are from 3 years ago and the numbers just keep climbing for Louisiana.
The suicide rate in Louisiana is above the national average. We are at 15.26% per 100,000 people meanwhile the national average is 13.26%. What do these numbers mean? In short, Louisiana is seeing 1 death every 12 hours from suicide.
Why are we seeing so many deaths in Louisiana caused by suicide? Simply put, the state of Louisiana doesn't care. Mix the pandemic and seasonal depression with a serious lack of state funding for suicide prevention and you have these horrid numbers.
Even though the Bayou state is seeing a spike in suicide, the funding for programs that are essential for suicide prevention are getting cut. What's worse is that the state programs designed specifically to prevent youth suicide are no longer in operation. According to Long Leaf Hospital's website, "Louisiana’s Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) will now only provide postvention services to state workforce organizations when an employee has already died from suicide." Doesn't that seem very backward to you?
If you are struggling, or someone close to you is struggling with thoughts of suicide, know that there is help. You can speak with a counselor right now for free simply by calling 800-273-8255 or you can visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
What will the state of Louisiana do with the staggering numbers of suicide? Keep making cuts to the programs that are essential to suicide prevention? We sure hope not.