Across the country, people are becoming more and more aware of mental illness and how it needs to be taken more seriously to ensure the success of those afflicted with mental health issues. Connecticut’s suicide rates fall lower on the spectrum, reports WRVO Public Media, than other states. The state also has one of the highest rates of mental health coverage as far as resources and services go. However, the state has reportedly been seeing a recent increase in its suicide rates, which has worried Mental Health Connecticut, a nonprofit that wants to raise money to help lower suicide rates.
Luis Perez, the CEO of Mental Health Connecticut, says that though it seems on the surface that Connecticut has a good handle on the mental health care of its people, there is still a need for services that is not being met. His organization aims to help change that problem.
“Being number one among other states puts us in a position of sometimes feeling complacent in that we’re doing well, but the reality is that the services are not sufficient, and access to those services has been diminishing,” Perez told WRVO.
#FUNdraisingFriday spotlight Deirdre King-Hooge: MHC Committee member, #Be1of110 Champion, CT native, Oberlin College alum, whose persistent optimism is driven by a desire to help others. Learn more about at Deirdre at https://t.co/U5ihHyHxtD. #WhatMovesYou pic.twitter.com/HNTqR4l0jX— Mental Health Connecticut (@MentalHealthCT) September 28, 2018
Perez also claims that in states with low suicide rates, like Connecticut, citizens should be worried, because he feels it probably means there are many cases going underreported. The problem could be much bigger than the studies say, he told WRVO. He also says an important part of helping lower suicide rates is to teach young children about emotions and mental illness. Perez says that teaching kids to talk about emotions at a young age is key in reducing the incidence of mental health-related deaths.
“We need to do a better job of educating children because as we normalize those feelings and talk about them, they’re able — at an appropriate developmental level — [to] talk about those feelings and be able to express them,” Perez said.
The organization has a Twitter page where it shares events and posts related to raising funds in order to source mental health care in Connecticut. It also shares “spotlight” posts on particular fundraiser associates, giving their background and applauding their hard work.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Connecticut ranks at no. 46 in the U.S. for suicide rates but has apparently seen a 19% increase in suicide rates from 1999-2018. The state also has strict gun control laws and mental health care widely available across the state, says WRVO.