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Springfield suicide rate is 60% higher than the national average, officials say

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Data from the Springfield-Greene County Health Department shows Springfield’s suicide rate is 60% higher than the national average.

Aaron Schekorra, spokesman for the health department, says the suicide rate of Springfield is 22.2 suicides per 100,000 people. That’s 60 percent higher than the national average of 13.8 per 100,000 and 20% higher than the state average.

“So that ends up being, if you work that out, one person in the Springfield community dying by suicide every five and a half days,” Schekorra said. 

The National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI, is an advocacy group that offers resources on mental illness. Stephanie Appleby, executive director of NAMI’s Southwest Missouri affiliate, says there are many local resources for people struggling with suicidal thoughts.

“We also help point you in the right direction if you’re having trouble navigating the system, because when you’re dealing with a mental health diagnosis, sometimes it’s difficult and overwhelming to navigate the system," Appleby told KSMU. "And that’s where a lot of people give up and turn to making a permanent decision for what might be a temporary problem.”

Appleby recommends going to a hospital if you’re experiencing a mental health emergency, or dial the suicide crisis lifeline at 988.

Here is a link to NAMI of Southwest Missouri’s website. Southwest Missouri residents can find local resources here.

The National Institute of Mental Health has resources for those experiencing a mental health crisis.

Josh Conaway is a graduate of Missouri State University with a B.A. in Political Science and an M.A. in International Affairs. He works as a news reporter and announcer at KSMU. His favorite part of the job is exploring the rich diversity of the Ozarks and meeting people with interesting stories to share. He has a passion for history and running.