Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death among Americans, and experts say more awareness is needed to reach people who are in crisis.
More than 1,400 Ohioans took their own lives in 2011, said Carolyn Givens, who heads the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation, and the numbers have increased in recent years. She said the rate among middle-aged Ohioans actually has risen more than 40 percent in the past decade, which she said she suspects is tied to a variety of issues.
“With the downturn of the economy, with home foreclosures, with the tanking of businesses here in Ohio and across the nation, people find themselves extremely distressed,” she said.
September is National Suicide Prevention Month, Givens said, and the numbers indicate much more needs to be done to connect those who are considering harming themselves with whatever services are available in their area. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Givens called depression a critical health issue, adding that too many people try to battle it alone. She said she tells them there is hope in treatment and that it’s important to reach out to others and watch for possible warning signs – in friends or loved ones, and even in their own behavior.
“A change in your hygiene, your appetite; something that you’ve loved to do, you quit doing,” she said. “The lack of association with family and friends, feeling totally disconnected and isolated. If you become very hopeless, and if getting out of bed in the morning becomes extremely painful.”
More information is online at health.state.mn.us and cdc.gov.