6 Suicides in Warren County, IL In 2 Months; Mental Health Awareness Can Help - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

6 Suicides in Warren County, IL In 2 Months; Mental Health Awareness Can Help

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A string of recent suicides in Warren county has the local community asking why these tragedies happened. Vice President of Behavioral Health Services at Bridgeway (a community mental health center) Rhonda Nelson said educating the community about mental health is the best way to move forward. 

"I think that when this happens in a community, I think that there's a lot of questions," said Nelson. "You know, what did we miss, what can we do, what are the resources that are available?"

A shockwave has hit these local communities and a lot of questions will be left unanswered. Six men in their 20's have committed suicide in the last 2 months, five of them in Monmouth, Illinois. 

This is most this coroner has seen in his 21 years of service. 

"It was so unusual to have this many and younger people that we just became a little concerned," said Warren County Coroner William Underwood. "The reason why, that's probably the hardest thing with suicides."

There was no trend in these cases and several methods of how the suicides were committed. Underwood said it's hard for families and law enforcement to understand, often because there is no rhyme or reason. 

Nelson said she doesn't think there's anything unique about Warren county that would connect these deaths. 

"It's a very caring and connected community and I know that they look out for each other," said Nelson.
     
She's worked in Warren county and in the mental health profession for 25 years. She said it doesn't help that mental health is a taboo topic to talk about.

"The more that our communities are educated on the more empathic we're going to be with people struggling with mental health," said Nelson.

To help with that, mental health "first aid" classes will be offered for free at several Bridgeway locations in west-central Illinois and eastern Iowa. These 8 hour classes are available for anyone, adults or children. They talk about common issues like depression, anxiety and substance abuse. Then they learn symptoms of these conditions and how to respond if it's happening to someone they know.

"There's always the questions why," said Nelson. "I think those are tough questions to answer. I think what my message would be in Warren county is to become educated how mental health impacts it's community... to continue to be the support that they are."

Nelson also provides the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255), if you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, needs help or wants to talk to a counselor. It's free and available 24/7. 

 

To find a mental health or human services office near you, use this online locator