The month of September is known nationally as “Suicide Prevention Month” and Washington Mayor Sandy Lucy read a proclamation Tuesday at the city council meeting, recognizing September as such.
Rebecca Feltmann, owner of Holistic Healing Support Services, and Elizabeth Makulec, executive director of Kids Under Twenty One (KUTO), who provide mental health services, were present for the reading of the proclamation and thanked the city council.
Washington Police Chief Edward Menefee acknowledged the need for awareness.
“I can think of four instances in the last week, where officers were called and determined individuals were suicidal and needed to receive help,” Menefee said. “We need to check on our neighbors and if something does not feel right, call us (Washington Police Department). We have officers trained to help in mental health crises.”
Twenty-four Franklin County residents have committed suicide each year from 2009 to 2019.
As of Sept. 9, 14 suicides have been recorded in 2020 by Franklin County Medical Examiner Kathleen Hargrave, bringing the 11-year total to 253.
Lucy told The Missourian she hopes the proclamation raises awareness.
“I hope this lets people know this (suicide) is out there and is a very real issue,” Lucy said.
Feltmann hosts a support group for those who have been impacted by suicide. The group meets the first Monday of the month from 6:30 to 8 p.m., at the Washington Farmers’ Market Pavilion.
KUTO is another resource for youth in Franklin County. The nonprofit provides peer-facilitated crisis prevention, suicide intervention and postvention support to youth.
For more information on KUTO, visit kuto.org or contact its crisis hotline at 1-888-644-5886.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-8255.
Monte Miller contributed to this story.