Louisville expands mental health, suicide prevention initiatives

A major step to expand mental health resources in Louisville. Metro health officials announced a number of new initiatives to enhance treatment today.
Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 11:54 AM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Residents struggling with mental health will soon have even more resources available to seek assistance and support.

On Thursday, Louisville Metro health officials announced a number of new health initiatives hoping to enhance treatment and support for mental health issues.

The city recently launched MentalHealthLou.com, a community wellness hub that features more than 300 mental health providers practicing in the Louisville-area, according to a release.

Officials said the hub will hopefully guide residents in finding the provider that works best for their needs.

“Many people struggle with finding the right provider, and we want to make that easier,” Amanda Villaveces, director of Mental Health Lou said in a release. “The resource guide is home to not just local mental health providers, but it also offers referrals to services beneficial to mental health like yoga and acupuncture.”

Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness said it has secured around $400,000 in federal funding that will go toward enhancing resources and suicide prevention methods over the next two years.

Funds will be used towards the creation of a Suicide Fatality Review Board, where mental health professionals and representatives from multiple agencies will work towards suicide prevention.

Officials said the board will evaluate circumstances leading to suicides and identify risk factors and trends to create more prevention and intervention efforts.

According to the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office, more than 170 people have died by suicide in 2022.

“Our goal is to achieve zero deaths by suicide in our community,” T. Gonzales, director of the Center for Health Equity and LMPHW said in a release. “Additionally, we hope to address mental health inequities by identifying ways we can improve conditions and services in Louisville communities facing the greatest barriers to optimal mental health.”

Additional funds will also be donated to non-profit organizations such as the Americana Center, the Louisville Urban League and Queer Kentucky to host events focused on suicide prevention and addressing issues that affect mental health of underserved communities.

“Improving access to mental health services is an important first step toward improving our community’s health,” Ben Goldman, administrator of the Behavioral Health Equity team at LMPHW said. “Our department is committed to working with community partners to identify and address systemic barriers to mental health, while reducing the stigma of mental illness and mental healthcare.”

Anyone facing mental health issues or suicidal thoughts should text LOU to 741741, or call or text the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 988.