High Suicide Rates Prompt New Hanover County to Bolster Mental Health Programs

At a recent meeting, New Hanover County shared worrying news about suicides in 2022. They reported 55 suicides, mostly involving men.

The county’s suicide rate jumped to about 23.4 for every 100,000 people, way higher than the national average of 14.3 per 100,000.

Mom Pushes for Mental Health Talks

Debbie Owens, whose son Jeremy was a beach captain and died by suicide in 2020, wants to talk about mental health, especially with men. She believes men find it tough to talk about feeling weak.

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Help on the Way

To help, the county will use nearly $1 million from opioid settlements and part of their $6.8 million budget for mental health programs.

Owens stressed that the money is essential to remove the shame around seeking help. She said, “We need to support our community members struggling with mental health.”

This move by the county aims to provide stronger support for people dealing with mental health problems, particularly after the sharp rise in suicides.

It’s a step toward helping those in the community who need support during tough times.

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