The multiple community agencies that make up the West Kentucky Mental Health Workgroup have joined together to raise awareness for Mental Health during Mental Health Awareness Month this May.
Each year, millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. During May, the West Kentucky Mental Health Workgroup joins the national movement to raise awareness about mental health. One in 5 adults in the United States experiences mental illness each year, including 746,000 adults in Kentucky with a mental health condition. Additionally, the increasing mental health burden among the youth and adolescent population is particularly alarming. One in 6 (17.4%) children in the United States aged 2-8 years had a diagnosed mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder.
The West Kentucky Mental Health Workgroup is a regional health coalition with a mission to create a positive conversation around mental health and to improve the mental well-being of the people in all areas of our community through education, advocacy and support across all ages and groups.
Activities occurring in May on behalf of Mental Health Awareness Month include:
• Free Community Substance Misuse and Recovery Summit on Tuesday, May 16 at Murray State Paducah Campus. This is an educational, one-day in-person event to improve the understanding of prevention, treatment, recovery and harm reduction principles, priorities and practices, including reducing stigma and partnerships between public health and public safety. Suicide prevention training will be offered, in addition to a discussion about Senate Bill 90. To register and for more information, visit: purchasehealthconnections.com/summit2023.
Local mental health resources available:
Suicide and Crisis Hotlines:
• 988 — Connect with suicide prevention, mental health and substance abuse counselors using a nationwide, easier-to-dial phone number. Phone service providers direct 988 calls to the existing national lifeline with its 13 Kentucky call centers. Connection to additional crisis services will be provided if necessary. If you or someone you know is in crisis, someone to talk to is just a click away. Call 988 on your device.
• 988 is a shortcut for the Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.
• Crisis Text Link: Text KY to 741741
• Four Rivers Behavioral Health Emergency Crisis Intervention Line: 800-592-3980
• Four Rivers Behavioral Health Regional Prevention Center continually offers virtual and in-person Question, Persuade, and Refer Trainings. QPR reviews the three simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
• You are Not Alone cards, stickers and posters with National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (988) information are available at the Four Rivers Regional Prevention Center
• Graves County ASAP has yard signs, crisis cards and crisis safety wallet cards, as well as free crisis text line magnets.
• Paper copies can be requested by contacting Shay Glover at the Marshall County Health Department: email@example.com.
State and local statistics on mental health:
• Suicide is the second-leading cause of death in ages 10-34 in Kentucky. (AFSP Kentucky Fact Sheet 2022)
• The number of deaths due to suicide per 100,000 in McCracken (22), Graves (20), and Marshall (17) were at or above the state average of 17 (2022 County Health Rankings)
• 37.4% of adults in Kentucky reported symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorder, compared to 32.3% of adults in the U.S. (KFF Mental Health & Substance Use Disorder State Data)
• Kentucky’s age-adjusted suicide rate (17.9) was higher than the national level in 2021 (14.1) (KFF Mental Health & Substance Use Disorder State Data)
• Among adults in Kentucky in 2022 who reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorder, 35.2% reported needing counseling or therapy but not receiving it in the past four weeks, compared to the U.S. average of 28.2%. (KFF Mental Health & Substance Use Disorder State Data)
• Western Kentucky experiences a shortage in mental health providers by population in every county, as compared to state and national averages (2022 County Health Rankings)
• Mental health needs, specifically among youth populations, have been discussed heavily in local health coalition meetings and during community health assessment processes. The trauma of the Dec. 10, 2021 tornado, compounded by the already increased demand for mental health services since the COVID-19 pandemic and the Marshall County High School shooting on Jan. 23, 2018, have resulted in an increase in mental health issues and an increase in wait times for counseling sessions for those affected.
• In the Purchase Area Health Connections’ 2021 community survey, mental health was the third-highest risk factor affecting respondents’ personal health, with 130 responses.
• Mental health was also listed among the top five health challenges that respondents faced (141 responses) and the second-highest rated issue the community needs to address (346 responses).
• Also in the Purchase Area Health Connections’ 2021 community survey, when asked how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted respondents’ lives, mental health was the top choice with 222 votes. Community leaders identified mental health as the top health problem, with 169 responses. When asked what major issues the community needs to address, mental health ranked first with 228 responses.
• Mayfield/Graves County 10th graders reported feeling the following: 29.8% felt nervous in the past 30 days, 15.9% reported feeling hopeless, 36.7% reported feeling restless/fidgety, 13.7% felt depressed, 17.4% felt worthless, 11.8% reported having suicidal thoughts, and 8% had attempted previously (2021 Mayfield Graves Combined KIP data)
• In the Marshall County Health Department’s 2022 community health assessment survey, stress was the top health issue respondents or an immediate family member faced, with 57.2% of responses. Mental health/suicide was No. 4, with 33% of responses.
The West Kentucky Mental Health Workgroup meets on the fourth Monday of every month in varying locations throughout the region. To be added to the email list and to receive meeting invitations for this workgroup, email co-chairs Courtney Jeffries at firstname.lastname@example.org or Glover at email@example.com.
For more information about the 988 suicide hotline, visit 988.ky.gov. For more information about the West Kentucky Mental Health Workgroup and Purchase Area Health Connections, visit purchasehealthconnections.com.