October is the month of World Mental Health Day. In September, the Savannah community hosted the Out of Darkness walk at Lake Mayer and watched as the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Savannah branch raised over $22,000, but what are the stats on mental illness for the state of Georgia? How much more work do we have left to do as a community and on campus before our 2020 World Mental Health Day?
While 2.3 million individuals in Georgia live with some kind of mental illness, Georgia is in the bottom three states of those who offer mental health care resources and insurance access to those individuals suffering. Currently Georgia also only has 18.7% of beds necessary to care for individuals who may need hospitalization for their mental illness.
Every seven hours, one person dies by suicide in the state of Georgia and is the leading cause of death of Georgia residents ages 15 to 34 years old. Those stats total to twice the annual homicide rate for the state. Ninety percent of those who die by suicide have a pre-existing mental illness.
With stats like these, we have to stop and address the problem and see what we can do on our campus to effect positive change. If every HBCU in Georgia came together to prioritize students’ mental health, we could make a significant impact in the statistics of the state of Georgia. The Counseling Center on campus offers free, confidential, and personal counseling services to all students on campus. Never be ashamed to get help. Call (912) 358-3129 to schedule your appointment today.
Another way to affect state-level change is by making healthcare more accessible. Get engaged with the decisions our lawmakers are making regarding insurance, affordable medical care, and mental illness-related laws. November is coming. Stay educated, vote, and make your voice heard.