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Suicide is a public health issue, both nationally and in Ohio. The growing epidemic impacts individuals and families of all races, ages, and socioeconomic status. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention named suicide the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, with more than 47,000 Americans dying by suicide in 2017.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, the state's rate of suicide increased 44.8% from 2007 to 2018, for a total of 1,836 reported suicide deaths in 2018. While suicide is most common among older males in Ohio, suicide is the leading cause of death among Ohioans ages 10-14 and the second leading cause of death among Ohioans ages 15-34. The suicide rate - the number of suicide deaths per 100,000 population - increased 56% among Ohioans ages 10-24 in the last decade.
Public health experts believe that suicide statistics underrepresent the actual number of deaths by suicide. Additionally, these figures do not account for the more than 1.5 million suicide attempts across the United States in 2017. A suicide attempt is a non-fatal, self-directed, potentially injurious behavior with an intent to die as a result of the behavior. While suicide attempts might not result in injury, individuals who attempt suicide should seek immediate treatment and ongoing support.
It is vital to evaluate our mental health and notice if we need to seek help from a peer supporter or a clinician. Sometimes, in-patient care is required in order to stabilize a mood and continue with out-patient care.
Take an honest look at yourself. Do you identify with these red flags?
If any of these statements describe you, understand that it is okay to not be okay. Ask for help. Do not suffer in silence!
What Causes Suicide?
There is no one cause for suicide. Often, health and environmental factors, along with family history, combine to create overwhelming feelings of hopelessness and despair for people who are experiencing suicidal ideation - the thinking about, considering, or planning suicide. Mental health conditions, most commonly depression, and substance use disorders are often associated with suicide and suicidal ideation. However, not everyone with a mental illness thinks about suicide.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, individuals who are thinking about or planning suicide tend to show changes in the ways they talk, act, and feel. Special attention should be paid to changes in behavior or the emergence of an entirely new behavior, like those mentioned below. Knowing what the warning sides of suicide are, especially following a major change, loss, or painful event, can help save a life.
Crisis lines give individuals the opportunity to connect with trained volunteers in the moment, using their telephones. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is one such option available nationwide.
Someone who is thinking about suicide may talk about:
From providing education to supporting Suicidal thoughts can cause the following new or changed behaviors:
The following moods are common in people considering suicide:
The stigma around suicide and mental illness can prevent individuals from seeking help for the underlying causes of their suicidal thoughts. Suicide prevention efforts often focus on stigma reduction; increased education about the risk factors and warning signs of suicide for healthcare providers, community members, and families; and connectedness. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) named increasing connectedness - the degree to which a person or group is socially close, interrelated, or shares resources with other persons or groups - one of its key strategies for suicide prevention. Connectedness can include creating relationships with friends, neighbors, and co-workers; strengthening bonds among family members; participating in community 01:ganizations, like schools and faith communities; or forming social groups around cultural identity or hobbies.
Positive and supportive social relationships and community connections can help buffer the effects of risk factors for suicide.
Individuals can take action to create connectedness with people around them that may be considering suicide. It can be awkward or difficult to start the conversation, but it is okay to ask a person directly if they are thinking about suicide. Because those with suicidal ideation often feel like a burden to others, it is important to show them that you care about how they are feeling and listen to their thoughts without judgement. Regularly checking in with someone that you are concerned about creates lasting connectedness and could reduce their risk of attempting suicide. Offering appropriate resources to someone with suicidal ideation provides them with different options to stay connected to others.