Louisiana has seen a 29 percent increase in the suicide rate since 1999, that according to a CDC report that revealed national suicide rates have skyrocketed over the last two decades. Twenty five states have seen a 30 percent or more increase in suicides, and Louisiana Department of Health Suicide Prevention Coordinator Danita Leblanc says there’s a disturbing statistic hiding in the report.

“More than half of individuals who die by suicide in that time period had no known mental illness.”

Leblanc says the state, and country, need to beef up their suicide detection efforts, increase the amount of mental health education, and expand mental health services, but that’s tough to do under a budget crunch.

“Those are teachable but those are also things that cost money in terms of materials and instructor time to be able to deliver.”

Leblanc says without the proper facilities and professionals to take care of Louisiana patients with mental illnesses, they often end up treating the symptoms of their disease at places that aren’t equipped to handle them.

“And the fallback has been often the emergency departments who are not necessarily trained to respond to that.”