On average, one person dies by suicide approximately every 20 hours in Mississippi according to the Centers for Disease Control. Many people believe that suicide rates are on the rise particularly during the holiday season. Experts tell MPB's Ashley Norwood that that's a myth.
November, December and January have recorded the lowest reports of suicide across the country, according to studies. Contrary to popular belief, the highest number of suicides occur during the summer and spring says Mitzi Spears with the Suicide Survivor Support Group in Hattiesburg.
"There's evidence that manic behavior increases in the springtime. During the winter months, your depression matches the weather. You can kind of get through. And then in the spring, when the new blooms and the sunshine come out, there's such a discrepancy between your mood and the weather," says Spears.
Spears says, up to 90 percent of people who complete suicide are diagnosed with clinical depression or some type of mental disorder. She says depression is a risk factor surrounding suicide.
"So I think the really important thing is self-care. Which includes making sure that you're getting the right amount of sleep. That's one of the biggest factors in depression, that you're eating healthy, that you're getting exercise and that you're getting outside," said Spears.
More people die by suicide in Mississippi annually than by homicide, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control. Molly Portera with the Mississippi Department of Mental Health says they've partnered with state officials to prevent further deaths.
"Last legislative session, the Mississippi legislature passed House Bill 263. That bill requires local school districts to conduct an in-service training on suicide prevention on all school district employees for the 2017-2018 school year," said Portera.
Portera is hopeful the new law could reduce the number of suicide deaths in Mississippi.