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After death of former Miss USA, MSDH reminds public importance of suicide prevention

Published: Feb. 8, 2022 at 3:23 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Suicide is a serious issue that affects every race and social economic status across the world.

On the heels of the untimely death of former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst, the Mississippi Department of Health is reminding people about the importance of suicide prevention and the resources available to save lives.

Ja’Quila Newsome is the director of Suicide Prevention for the Mississippi Department of Mental Health. She was saddened to hear about the death of Miss USA 2019, attorney, and entertainment news correspondent Cheslie Kryst at the age of 30.

She says a lot of celebrities and everyday citizens suffer from feelings of depression, anxiety, hopelessness, and despair that many times lead to suicide.

“Sometimes we forget just because we see someone, and they appear to have it all together that doesn’t define that they are all together,” Newsome said.

According to the DMH , suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the US and 15th leading cause of death in Mississippi. It’s also the 3rd leading cause of death for Mississippi youth ages 15-24.

“Some of the common signs for individuals who are suicidal are talking about suicide - it could be writing about suicide, putting in a post on some type of social media platform.”

Newsome says if you are experiencing deep depressive or suicidal thoughts, don’t be afraid or ashamed to reach out for help or seek professional treatment.

“You can reach out to the DMH helpline, you can reach out to your medical doctor to voice your concerns and voice how you are feeling, speak with a therapist to develop coping skills that fit your needs to help you move past this phase of the depression.”

There are also ways to help someone at risk of suicide or those suffering in silence.

“If you notice something that may be off with that individual, whether it’s them sleeping too much, or eating too much and things like that, check in on the individual. Reassure them that you are there for support and if they need to talk to you tell me you’re there.”

DMH is also pushing its campaign Shatter the Silence to help save lives.

“This campaign helps to educate individuals in our communities, whether it be faith-based leaders, or organizations, sororities and fraternities or any groups to educate about on the warning signs of a mental illness and suicide and what resources are available to help.”

If you or a loved one needs help, call the Department of Mental Health Helpline at 1-877-210-8513. Staff members provide help around the clock.

It also offers a no-cost suicide prevention training called Shatter the Silence, Suicide: The Secret You Shouldn’t Keep. Contact Ja’Quila Newsome at (601)359-6252, or Jaquila.Newsome@dmh.ms.gov for more information.

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