Community Health

If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one or would like emotional support, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-8255. 

Louisville Metro Government is making an effort this month to raise awareness about mental health issues and make treatment more accessible, particularly to men of color.

Last year more than 150 people died by suicide in Jefferson County. Mirroring national statistics, men accounted for 80% of those deaths. 

The city’s Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, or OSHN, is reserving free counseling appointments for people experiencing racial, domestic and sexual trauma throughout October. While help is available to anyone in distress, the effort specifically aims to encourage more men of color to seek treatment. 

In a press release, Nanette Dix, manager of OSHN’s Trauma Resilient Communities program, said cultural ideals of hypermasculinity often keep men of color from asking for mental health assistance. Stigmas against mental illness and a lack of trust in medical providers also act as barriers.

“National and local findings have shown that men of color are significantly more likely than white males to report feeling worthless and of having no hope for their lives getting better,” Dix said. “So, the focus on them in October can hopefully start to remedy an unmet need.” 

A number of factors contribute to emotional trauma — like feeling unsafe in your surroundings, losing a loved one and poverty. Symptoms can include hypervigilance, difficulty sleeping as well as negative or suicidal thoughts.

Black, Latino and Indigenous residents make up just 30% of Jefferson County’s total population. Yet men under 25 who belong to those groups accounted for 40% of the county’s suicide deaths last year. 

Appointments are available in-person or by phone, and can be scheduled by calling the Trauma Resilience hotline at 502-901-0100.

OSHN’s Trauma Resilient Communities initiative received $25,000 in American Rescue Plan funds to hire counselors to provide the free services. With it, the office has contracted Martin and Muir Counseling, Inc, an agency with experience in treating racial trauma, to oversee the initiative. 

Other mental health resources:

  • Spalding University’s Collective Care Center – 502-792-7011 – Free therapy for those who have experienced race-based trauma
  • WAVE-3 “It’s Your Life” Youth Help Line – (866) 589-8727 – A link to specially trained peer counselors
Yasmine Jumaa is WFPL’s race and equity reporter.