High blood pressure has long been described as “The Silent Killer.” Yet there is another deadly threat to public health in which silence can be a key factor.
Each day in America, 123 people take their own lives. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., the second leading cause of death for people ages 25-34 and the third leading cause of death for those ages 15-24.
In far too many cases, the person who commits suicide suffers in silence. Mental health issues, especially suicidal thoughts, still remain a taboo subject. Often breaking the silence is the difference between getting the help needed to treat the root causes of suicidal thoughts and a tragic end to a life.
For almost two decades now, Contact Helpline in Columbus has served as a critical resource for those seeking help at a desperate time in their lives. In 2021 alone, the nonprofit fielded 10,000 calls. As part of a national suicide prevention network, Contact Helpline is a place where those with suicidal thoughts can share their thoughts with trained staff and volunteers and have access to resources to fight what is almost always a lonely battle.
September is National Suicide Prevention Month. On Saturday, an event organized to raise money for Contact Helpline will be held at the Storehouse Event Venue in Starkville. “Tapas and Taps” will provide food, beer and soft drinks, along with musical entertainment from 7-9:30 p.m.
The first “Tapas and Taps” event was held in 2019 and raised $5,000. Event organizer Evie Vidrine hopes this year’s event will eclipse that total.
Contact Helpline serves Choctaw, Clay, Kemper, Lowndes, Monroe, Noxubee, Oktibbeha and Winston counties. It has both volunteers and paid employees who answer calls, as well as provide a new live chat service for those who don’t want to talk on the phone. Contact Helpline is one of the two centers in Mississippi that work with the text and chat lines.
The money raised will help pay for phones as well as the text service subscription and other necessities.
We urge citizens to support the important work of Contact Helpline. “Tapas and Taps” is an excellent opportunity to do just that.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.
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