A Columbus organization hosts a suicide awareness 5K run

Suicide prevention is a big topic that can often be overlooked

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)-  Suicide prevention day is recognized each year on September 10. Organizations in Columbus raised awareness of suicide by hosting a suicide awareness walk.

Suicide prevention is a big topic that can often be overlooked, but agencies like Contact Help Line raise awareness and save lives.

“Mental illness is a huge problem but we want to minimize that problem as much as possible. We want individuals to receive counseling to call our crisis line if you’re suicidal and if they see some signs in someone they can get some help,” said executive director of Contact Help Line, Katrina Sunivelle.

Sunivelle said they’ve held the event for over five years with a message of “It’s ok not to be okay”; and with the ongoing pandemic, she knew more people would need help.

“With COVID, with illness, with depression, and mental illness that they have support in the community there is help for them, don’t give up and don’t let their light go out,” said Sunivelle.

The Helpline helps people from breaking point to turning point. The 5k run and walk had counselors and first responders for anyone that may have needed guidance. Assistant fire chief Duane Hughes says 86% of their calls are medical with the majority being mental illness.

“When the fire department gets there on scene normally it’s chaos and those calls seem to have an extra little element that’s involved with them and you have several family members that will be involved and they’re often ongoing,” said Hughes.

Even Columbus Mayor Keith Gaskin encourages those battling depression to reach out to Contact Help Line so they can receive help.

“There are thousands of people out there that suffer from depression and feel that they don’t have any way out and this organization has been reaching out for over 45 years to help people understand there’s a better way than taking your life,” said Gaskin.

If you or someone you know are dealing with depression or mental illness you’re encouraged to reach out to Contact Helpline

and you can remain anonymous at 1-800-273-8255.

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