Suicides dramatically increasing across Ohio, report finds

Suicides up 45% since 2007 across age groups.

Suicides across the state have climbed 45 percent since 2007, signaling an alarming crisis that is hitting everyone from pre-teens to elderly Ohioans, according to a new report by the Ohio Department of Health.

Between 2007 and 2018, suicide deaths increased 45 percent among all age groups and by 56 percent among youths ages 10 to 24, according to state health officials. Over the past dozen years, 18,391 Ohioans have died by suicide.

“Suicide in Ohio and nationally is a growing public health epidemic, particularly among young people. Suicide is the leading cause of death among Ohioans ages 10-14 and the second leading cause of deaths among Ohioans 15-34,” said Dr. Amy Acton, director of ODH.

The most common method of suicide is firearms, followed by hanging and drug overdose, the report said.

Related: Ohio lawmakers vote to increase suicide prevention training in schools

The DeWine administration aims to address mental illness and other factors that contribute to suicide. The governor’s RecoveryOhio Advisory Council made more than 70 recommendations to address areas of stigma, health care parity coverage, prevention, treatment and recovery supports.

Related: How Dayton region can stop record increase in teen suicides

Warning signs of suicide include: major change in mood or behavior; high-risk behaviors such as drug use; expressing feelings of hopelessness; self-harm such as cutting or burning; change in energy, appetite or sleep schedule.

Experts suggest the following ways to help someone showing warning signs: ask directly about suicidal thoughts; listen to their needs; keep lethal means away from them; call 911 if necessary; connect them with the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255; encourage them to seek counseling.

Related: Youth mental health: What can parents do?

Suicide is a complex problem with multiple risk factors. Root causes of depression and anxiety include a lack of healthy coping skills; barriers to receiving care, including stigma; high levels of stress and trauma due to loss of jobs, the addiction crisis and high rates of domestic violence; and a lack of community connectedness.

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