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Ohio suicide deaths up 45%, Cuyahoga Co. suicides hit 34 year high

Posted at 4:08 PM, Dec 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-04 19:55:59-05

CLEVELAND — The most recent report from Ohio Department of Health shows suicide deaths increased by 45% among all Ohioans from 2007 to 2018.

The report indicated suicide rates are highest among white, non-Hispanic males. with the number of suicides among youth, ages 10-24, increasing by 56%.

The report also found the suicide rate among black non-Hispanic males increased nearly 54%, from 2014 to 2018, while the suicide rate among older adults, age 65+, increased nearly 48%, from 2007 to 2018.

Dr. Mark Hurst, Medical Director, with the Ohio Department of Health told News 5 the dramatic increase is cause for concern.

“The number that we had in Ohio is something that we all need to concerned about,” Hurst said.

"An expanding economy was always associated with a decrease in suicide, yet we've seen an unprecedented economic expansion over the past 10 years, and with that we've seen an increase in suicides."

Beth Zietlow-DeJesus with the ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County said there's also been a dramatic increase in suicide in northeast Ohio.

“In Cuyahoga County suicide is on the rise, in fact in 2018 we’ve had the most suicides that we have seen since 1985," Zietlow-DeJesus said.

“I’m here to say it can happen to anyone, and we need to listen, we need to be paying attention to the people that we love.”

"Some of the things that can trigger suicide are a loss of a job, loss of someone you love, particularly if they died by suicide, substance use, or a relapse after a period of sobriety, in addition to social isolation.”

Jane Granzier, Associate Director of Crisis Services with Frontline Service said people need to take action and intervene if they see a friend or loved one struggling, and get them the help they need.

“We need to become comfortable noticing changes, and having the courage to ask somebody, you know I’ve noticed you’re not yourself lately.”

The Ohio Department of Health said if someone you know is showing signs of suicide, here are some things you can do:

  • Ask directly about thoughts of suicide (asking about suicide does not increase the risk of suicide but does open up conversation)
  • Listen to what they need
  • Keep them safe by keeping lethal means away from them
  • Call 911 if necessary
  • Help them connect with ongoing support, such as a local crisis line, the National Suicide Prevention Life line (1-800-273-8255) or the Crisis Text Line (text “4hope” to 741 741)
  • Check back the next day to see how they are doing
  • Encourage them to seek out a counselor for more help