FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - More resources than ever are available to help people deal with mental health issues, something Jennifer Barnes of Mental Health American of Northeast Indiana says wasn’t widely available to her when she dealt with losing her father from suicide in 2003.
"There weren't a lot of resources then. I remember kind of just Googling it. I don't even think it was google back then, just looking it up and not having a lot of resources. Now, there are tremendous resources," Barnes said.
At MHA of Northeast Indiana, they offer suicide prevention courses, support groups, Facebook pages, hotlines to call for people contemplating suicide, and they also provide support for families and friends who have lost someone to suicide.
In the United States, up to 42 college students take their own life every day, and in Indiana, suicide is the second leading cause of death among teens.
Mary Ross with Purdue Fort Wayne leads Project COMPASS. She says through new grants and programming, students and staff at PFW and IUFW have more mental health resources to help, especially dealing with COVID-19 grief.
"It allowed us a lot of those resources around COVID, around preparing," Ross said. "It allowed us a lot of resources around grief and loss, and how we take our next step. So, our next step is actually bringing mental health first aid to campus for faculty, staff, and students."
Thanks to the programming, the university has 127 student gatekeepers trained to recognize suicide in students and help with intervention.
Barnes and Ross agree that one of the biggest suicide prevention tips is breaking the stigma of mental health, treating an injured brain just like any other injured body part.
Barnes explained, "In reality, it's just like a broken arm it's the same thing it's absolutely okay to not be okay as long as you're going to reach out and we can get your help and support for that."
If you or someone you know needs mental health assistance or may be contemplating suicide, the links below will direct you to some resources: