Alarming rise in suicides in Cullman County

CULLMAN COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — A plea from Cullman County: mental health professionals want anyone with suicidal thoughts to call them because the number of suicides in the county is climbing at an alarming rate.

What’s really glaring is the victims are all men ranging from a teenager to middle-aged.

There have been at least six suicides in the county in the past thirty days. That’s three times the number from this time last year. Suicides usually spike after the holidays, with increased financial problems and tension.

“After Christmas is always a higher time for suicidal feelings because of the cold, because of financial problems,” said Chris VanDyke, Executive Director Mental Healthcare of Cullman. “Relationships tend to get tense around financial problems, so a lot of those things factor in, but when you look at our statistics, we have no reasons to point to why we had six suicides in January and I think it was two last January.”

It appears that number may still continue to rise. An incident the other night may be ruled a suicide.

The Mental Healthcare of Cullman facility says they are flooded with calls by people with suicidal thoughts. They say dwindling state funding is making wait times extremely long for doctors and out-patient counseling visits. Funding for mental health in the state’s been cut by $45 million since 2009.

Here are important numbers to call if you have suicidal thoughts: National Suicide Prevention Hotline- 1-800-273-8255 or the Cullman Mental Healthcare – access to care number- 256-255-1020.

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