Huron County Public Health (HCPH) is joining the numerous organizations across the county, the state of Ohio, and the U.S. that are calling attention to suicide prevention and awareness this September in the name of National Suicide Prevention Month.
Suicide affects all demographic groups without regard to age, income, education, social standing, race, or gender. Nationally, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., with nearly 45,000 lives lost to suicide in the U.S. in 2016. According to CDC Vital Signs (June 2018), the state of Ohio’s suicide rate increased by 36.0% from 1999 to 2016. During the same time period, all U.S. states experienced an increase in their suicide rates, with the exception of Nevada, with half of states’ suicide rates rising by 30% or more.
In Huron County, suicides typically account for between 1.39-2.45% of resident deaths annually. The following table shows the data regarding of deaths of Huron County residents from 2014-2018.
The following graph displays Huron County’s (population 58,494) suicide deaths in comparison to neighboring counties of Sandusky County (population 59,195) and Seneca County (population 55,243):
Though Huron County has not seen the increase in suicides rates that are taking place at the state and national level, suicide is still an important topic that needs to be addressed in communities. The stigma that surrounds suicide often leads to silence. HCPH is encouraging the community to talk about suicide with the hopes of destigmatizing the topic and encourage individuals to seek help if they have had thoughts of suicide.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the 12 Suicide Warning Signs are: feeling like a burden, being isolated, increasing anxiety, feeling trapped or in unbearable pain, increased substance use, looking for a way to access lethal means, increased anger or rage, extreme mood swings, expressing hopelessness, sleeping too little or too much, talking or posting about wanting to die, and making plans for suicide.
Suicide is preventable. If you know someone exhibiting any number of these warning signs, remember the 5 steps to helping someone at risk are (1) ask after them if they are having thoughts of suicide in a caring way (2) keep them safe – make lethal means less available or less deadly (3) be there – listen without judgement (4) help them connect to a network of resources and individuals for support and safety and (5) follow up with them on an ongoing basis. For more information on how these five simple steps can save a life, visit www.BeThe1To.com.
If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1- 800-273-TALK (8255), chat at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat, or text the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.