Suicide deaths in Ohio increase after 2-year decline, report says

Suicide was 12th leading cause of death in state in 2021.

This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is in crisis call or text 988 to the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline or text 4HOPE to 741741

Five Ohioans die by suicide every day, and one youth dies every 34 hours, according to the Suicide Demographics and Trends 2021 report released Friday by the Ohio Health Department.

The report shows that after a two-year decline, suicide deaths in Ohio increased in 2021 by 8% over the previous year to 1,766. However, the number of deaths stayed below the 10-year high of 1,836 suicide deaths reported in 2018.

“Suicide is a human tragedy, and any increase is of course deeply concerning,” said ODH Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff. “This puts more emphasis on the importance of Gov. (Mike) DeWine’s efforts to prioritize the expansion of Ohio’s mental health services. All of us, though, need to pay attention and recognize when someone is struggling and know where they can turn to for help.”

Suicide in 2021 was the 12th leading cause of death overall in Ohio, and was the second leading cause of death among Ohioans ages 10 to 34.

Although the state saw an increase between 2020 and 2021, Warren, Butler and Preble counties were the only in the region to record higher suicide numbers for the same time period.

Warren County far exceeded the state with a 60% increase. The county recorded 42 deaths by suicide in 2021 compared to 26 in 2020.

Butler County, which also surpassed the state, saw eight more deaths, from 42 to 50 for a 19% increase, and Preble County recorded seven deaths by suicide in 2021, up one from 2020.

Suicide deaths from 2017-2021


Other key finds of the report include:

  • In 2021, adults 25-44 had the highest rate of suicide, which increased 13% from 2020, compared with 5% increases among other reported age groups.
  • Among men in 2021, those 75 and older had the highest rate of suicide.
  • Among women in 2021, those 45-54 had the highest number and rate of suicide.

DeWine’s 2024-25 budget proposal prioritizes mental health and significantly invests funds to prevent and treat mental illness, including:

  • $8 million each over the next two fiscal years to continue and expand proven suicide prevention programs and strategies outlined in the 2020 Suicide Prevention Plan.
  • $100 million for the creation of the State of Ohio Action for Resiliency — or SOAR — Network to develop, evaluate and implement effective mental health and addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery strategies.
  • $50 million for pediatric behavioral health workforce, integration of behavioral and primary health, and development of Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities.

“Most of this funding is sent directly to local communities and will be used to increase the number of Ohioans trained to help people build skills to bounce back from difficult life events and to reduce stigma so people can ask for help without shame,” Lori Criss, Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services director, said in a statement. “It will also support pediatric primary care screenings, grief support groups for loss survivors, and local coalitions who convene partners around unique community needs.”

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