The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reports one in 15 Nebraskans recently reported a major depressive episode in the past year. The data is from 2013, the most recent year that has figures available.
DHHS Prevention Manager Renee Faber says many of those people had suicidal thoughts.
She says that’s why having a social network is so important to fighting depression.
“Someone who cares about you and gives you structure, that sets boundaries for you,” Faber says. “I would definitely say that we are looking at those very things and helping to ensure that somebody has a positive connection in their life.”
Faber says the health department is working on suicide prevention with regional offices that are more closely connected to the communities they serve.
The same survey shows 20% of Nebraska high school students recently reported to feeling sad or hopeless every day for two straight weeks. The data raises concerns about teen suicide.
“We are focusing very closely on youth that maybe at higher risk if they have behavioral health concern,” Faber says. “So if they have any kind of behavioral health diagnosis, those are who we’ve chosen to target our efforts on, right now.”
Faber says nearly 10% of high school students reported making a suicide plan, while 6% attempted suicide. Still, those rates are lower than the national teen average.
Thoughts of suicide among 18-to-25 year olds in Nebraska is slightly higher than the national average.