By: Dan Cohen
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The events of the last few months in Kansas City and across the country are straining the public’s #mentalhealth, with professionals seeing a rise in call activity requesting resources.
“In the last month, month-and-a-half, we’ve seen our phone calls increase,” said Julie Pratt, president and CEO of Comprehensive #MentalHealth Services in Independence. “Between May and June, we saw a 45 percent increase in our calls, we’re starting to see an uptick in our calls and request for services. We’re seeing things increase. We know historically, with pandemics, there is a sudden surge for requests for services for #mentalhealth, behavioral health services following that, we’re expecting that to happen and seeing that already.”
CMHS is a member of the Metro Council, an organization that encompasses behavioral #mentalhealth providers in the Kansas City metro area.
Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.
Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.
Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space. #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle
One area of concern for Pratt is disparities in #mentalhealthcrises and #suicide in the #AfricanAmerican community, which are coming to light as the country reckons with race relations following protests after George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis.
“In the last 20 years, #suicide attempts by #black adolescents have increased 73 percent in the last 20 years. The injuries from #suicide attempts for #black boys alone has increased 122 percent. Another one that’s just staggering for #black youth under the age of 13, twice as likely to die by #suicide than their #white counterparts. Those are staggering numbers. It’s something we need to pay attention to and it’s something that has to be addressed,” Pratt said, citing a December 2019 report to the Congressional Black Caucus.
That task force included Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.) of Kansas City.
Pratt is hopeful that a renewed awareness and need for #mentalhealth resources provides a positive path forward.
“People are resilient. This has been a time where everyone is open to the need for #mentalhealthservices. A lot of cuts in budgets and we’ve seen minimal of that. We have had some, but I do believe everyone realizes that #mentalhealthservices are needed,” she said.
Below is a list of local and national crisis lines for those experiencing a #mentalhealthcrisis or suicidal thoughts:
1-800-273-TALK (8255) or
1-800 –#SUICIDE (784-2433)