Covington, La. - St. Tammany Parish has released new numbers that appear to show suicides are on the rise, but organizers of a suicide prevention initiative believe they are making progress.
According to numbers released on Monday, there were 39 suicides in the parish in 2010 and 33 for 2011. So far this year, there have already been 11 suicides, which if those numbers continue on that same track, would surpass the numbers recorded in the previous two years.
The ages of those who committed suicides in 2012 range in age from 19 to 76, with a median age of 52. Of this number, nine were men and two were women. Anyone who is suffering with depression and thoughts of suicide is urged to call 2-1-1.
Parish officials says it's still too early to draw conclusions about the program's effectiveness but says there are encouraging signs in the number of individuals and families who are receiving help that was not readily available until mid-way through 2011. There have also been some changes in how completed suicides are reported, making year to year comparisons not definitive.
In late 2010, St. Tammany Parish Government, with many non-profit partners including the United Way, Volunteers of America Greater New Orleans, via Link 2-1-1 and the St. Tammany Community Health Center, created a multi-tiered Suicide Prevention Support Initiative. The initiative was implemented in phases in 2011. From assisting law enforcement at the scene of mental health crisis situations to providing counseling and psychiatric care, the Initiative is working to reduce the unacceptable number of suicides and suicide attempts in St. Tammany Parish.
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