High suicide rates in Trumbull, Columbiana, and Ashtabula counti - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

High suicide rates in Trumbull, Columbiana, and Ashtabula counties

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WARREN, Ohio -

A Longitudinal Analysis of Ohio Suicide Deaths from 2008 to 2017 showed some surprising results about suicides in our backyards. The study prepared by The Ohio Alliance for Innovation in Population Health Ohio University was just released. It revealed troubling information about suicides in Appalachia which is home to 9 of Ohio's ten counties with the highest suicide rates per 100,000 people over the past 10 years. In this study, Trumbull, Columbiana, and Ashtabula counties ranked in the top 11 out of Ohio's 88 counties for rates of suicide deaths.

Too often across Ohio 911 dispatch employees who answer calls for help receive calls from frantic family members after a loved one ends his or her own life. The authors of a statewide study that used information from 27 agencies and vital statistic records from health departments across Ohio.  What they found is alarming, but can be used as a road map to help reach at-risk groups of people who are increasingly turning to suicide.

Executive in Residence Ohio University Orman Hall said, "We found about a 24% increase statewide in suicides and those increases varied by type or region of the state. What I found surprising is the degree to which Appalachia was disproportionately impacted by suicides, the degree of suicides among senior citizens, and the gap between male and females surprised me. We wanted to make sure all Ohioans have a better understanding of the scope of the problem in the state and know that it is a growing problem. We wanted to identify areas or regions that have more acute suicide problems and look at the special populations so policymakers can look at where they want to focus their attention or the degree to which the problem is changing over time."

Executive in Residence Ohio University Tracy Plouck added, "Economic factors can play an important role, however, it could be entirely something else. Sometimes people struggle with mental health issues, or people may have a traumatic life event and not have the adaptive ability to cope. We really can not say why there are more suicides taking place in Appalachia counties in Ohio. There are only possible correlations.  This long term study provides an opportunity for local agencies to reflect on interventions they have in place today and think about where they might want to expand or establish some additional programs or interventions."

Executive Director of the Trumbull Mental Health and Recovery Board said, "We have kept up with the statistics here locally each year and the good news is that for 2018 suicides are down in the county. In 2017 Trumbull County had 40 deaths by suicide, and in 2018 we only had 28.  We have a lot of different campaigns to try and reduce the number of suicides in our county. Most of the completed suicides are white males in the middle age range. We have also started to see an increase in senior citizens who commit suicide. We are reaching out to doctors offices to try and get the resources they need as well as the senior serving agencies. Most of the suicides committed by males are completed by firearms. And the suicide rate for males is 5 to 1 over females. More females attempt suicide but they are not completed. When women attempt suicide it is often over the loss of relationships or divorce from what we have found. There are many reasons why men commit suicide such as relationship issues, loss issues, loss of a spouse, loss of health, loss of a job. Those are the issues that lead to a man feeling hopeless. We have a man therapy campaign which includes billboards, posters, and outreach. We want to let men know that help is available to them. We also share our information with the Vienna Air Reserve Station since there are a high number of suicides among veterans."

Since 1/2 of all suicides involve the use of a firearm when someone is suicidal experts say it is important to get guns out of the home. Relatives and friends can take a loved one in crisis to the emergency room.  In Mahoning, Trumbull, and Columbiana counties you can get around the clock help by calling 211. In Ashtabula you can call the Hope Line at 1-800-577-7849. After 4 pm if you call 211 it will be answered by workers for Help Network of Northeast Ohio. The state also has a crisis text line for kids, teens, and adults who are sad, depressed, or suicidal. 
Anyone in Ohio can text 4 HOPE to 741-741

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