Suicide prevention conference coming to Cape July 25

Nearly 45,000 people died by suicide in the United States in 2016, the 10th most common way to die in this country.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death of people ages 15 to 34. The Missouri suicide rate is higher than the national average. One person dies by suicide every eight hours in Missouri, the highest rate in the Midwest.

As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported recently, in half of the states, suicide among people 10 years and older increased more than 30 percent.

"At what point is it a crisis?" asked Nadine Kaslow, a past president of the American Psychological Association, as reported in the Post-Distpatch. "Suicide is a public health crisis when you look at the numbers, and they keep going up. It's up everywhere. And we know that the rates are actually higher than what's reported. But homicides still get more attention."

Many people within the Southeast Missouri region are trying to address suicides. Mental health is becoming more of a priority within our health and public systems. The Community Counseling Center saw 7,600 clients last year, 2,100 of whom were younger than 18 years old.

Next month, Cape Girardeau, the Community Counseling Center will host the sixth annual Suicide Prevention and Awareness conference.

If you've struggled with thoughts of suicide, or if you work in a field where mental health comes into play, this would be a good time for you to get engaged in the important topic of suicide prevention.

The conference will include three speakers who are experts in the field, one a leader in the federal government's substance abuse and mental health services administration; another who is a clinical psychologist and the third is a global speaker, actor and arts entrepreeneur who uses story-telling to teach about suicide prevention. There will be breakout sessions, topics and trainings, including an adoclescent track for ages 12-17.

The Community Counseling Center Foundation will host the conference with Southeast Missouri State University. The event will take place from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on July 25 at the Show Me Center. For more information, go to www.cccntr.com.