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The number of suicides reached a 4 year high in America, now a Quad Cities organization is training people how to respond to a person in crisis

The Quad Cities Open Network is training people you come into contact with every day. They are learning how to spot someone in need and get them help.

MOLINE, Ill. — If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health condition, please know there is help available. You can call or text 988 anytime. You will be connected with someone who can help.

A new study by the Centers for Disease Control ad Prevention found that the number of people who died by suicide in America increased in 2021 to its highest level in four years.

The study dives into many of the statistics about the people who died by suicide but it did not offer a reason why. News 8's David Bohlman sat down with the National Alliance on Mental Illness Greater Mississippi Valley Executive Director Angela Gallagher to better understand the trends in the Quad Cities.  

In 2021, 48,183 Americans died by suicide, the highest since 2018. To put that number in perspective, that's more than the population of the City of Moline, Illinois. 

"The research that seemed most alarming [was when] the CDC talked about youth suicide rates in particular young women the suicide rates had jumped significantly," said Gallagher. 

News 8 asked Gallagher later why there was that increase in suicides among young women.

"The CDC pointed to sexual violence, and continued harassment, during the pandemic youth were sometimes cut off from activities where they would be allowed to blow off steam, and socialize," Gallagher said. "Socialization for the teenage brain, they rely heavily on interaction with their peers. So to be cut off from that during the pandemic I think the CDC is pointing to that as a reason for a spike."

A survey conducted by NAMI/Ipsos reached out to teens, asking about mental health. 

"Almost all the teen respondents (95%) who seek mental health information from their parents or guardians trust them, but initiating these conversations is still a hurdle that teens need help overcoming: Only about half (48%) say they talk to their parents or guardians regularly about their mental health," the survey found.

The new report from the CDC also found a disparity in the number of suicides and race.

Taking a look at the data from 2021, American Indians/Alaska Natives had the highest rate at 28.1% per 100,000. Rates also increased among Black Americans at 19.2% from 2018 to 2021 and 6.8% for Hispanic Americans.

Meanwhile, white Americans were the only group to see a decrease in suicides between 2018 and 2021 at 3.9%.

"With Black Americans, Hispanics and the pandemic, and the Asian populations they were at greater risk," Gallagher said about the statistics. "Part of that is socioeconomic factors for some populations. There just is no availability of insurance, healthcare, behavioral health, and also culturally appropriate. Sometimes, particularly in the black community, with adult black men, they are often misdiagnosed. It has to do with the various cultural ways of explaining what's going on."

The information provided by the CDC is alarming, but there is an organization in the Quad Cities that trains people you come into contact with every day to spot someone in crisis and get them help. 

It could be a cashier at your favorite grocer, your hairdresser and more. 

The Quad Cities Open Network is a network of more than 100 health and human service agencies from the Quad Cities. The organization tackles a lot, but one of its initiatives is the "Zero Suicide Initiative." 

In 2019 mental health was a topic that was at the top of the list of priorities that came out of the Community Health Assessment. Now the Quad Cities Open Network trains people to spot a person in need, and get them help. 

"We have chosen as the community to use 'Question, Persuade, Refer', this is a simple 1-2 hour training that community members can take and it just teaches us to take a step back, to look at people as people, to recognize people's facial expressions. Maybe someone is having a bad day — the training teaches people to interact with people in a way that's appropriate." said Cecilia Bailey, executive director of Quad Cities Open Network.

You can register for this training by clicking here.

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