Suicide numbers increase, funding for help stays the same

Doctors say not enough money is being spent on suicide research

SHELBY COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - The CDC say more than 47,000 Americans killed themselves in 2017.

This makes suicide one of the leading causes of death. Doctors says despite those shocking numbers not much has been done to combat what some are calling a public health emergency.

According to the numbers, Americans are more than twice as likely to die by suicide than murder. In 2017, sadly 38 people killed themselves in Shelby County. Only five people were murdered.

Dr. Shankar Yalamanchili is a Psychiatrist for Brookwood Baptist Medical Center and he says there are big differences in the amount of funding being put towards mental health and suicide as opposed to all the other illnesses.

“Funding mechanisms, I don’t think there has been a huge change in the mental health budget as far as federal or state levels in terms of new monies coming in as a result of this research or numbers that have come out,” he explains.

Dr. Chili says despite the need for more help, not enough is being done to study mental health.

“Just like everyone came together for the opioid epidemic, I think. Working in a similar fashion to work with depression and suicide would be also great and I think that would kind of bring the funding mechanisms to do a lot more good,” he explains.

If you know someone suffering with a mental illness, make sure they have a good support system and that you are constantly reaching out and checking on them. Tell them about hotline options available 24-7 in case they need someone to talk with.

The National Suicide Prevention lifeline is one of them. You can call 1800-273-8255 for help right away.

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