Ohio's suicide rates have jumped nearly 50% since 2007, per department of health study

Posted at 7:41 PM, Nov 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-13 19:46:02-05

If you or someone you know might be at risk of suicide, call 1-800-273-8255 any time to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center also has a list of local phone numbers and other resources for help here.

Suicide rates jumped sharply in Ohio between 2007-2018, prompting Ohio Department of Health director Amy Acton to name it “a growing public health epidemic” in a Wednesday news release.

According to the release, suicide deaths increased 45% for the population overall and 56% among people ages 10-24 during the 11-year study period. An expanded summary of the data listed suicide as the leading cause of death among Ohioans between the ages of 10-14 and the second-leading cause of death among Ohioans 15-34 as of 2018.

Despite the larger increase in suicide rates among young people, adults 45-64 had the highest rate of suicide by age; men 55-64 had the largest number.

Ohioan men of all ages and demographics were more likely to die by suicide than women, reflecting a pronounced gender divide among suicide victims that is common worldwide.

Although data suggests women are generally more likely to be diagnosed with depression and to attempt suicide, men comprise a larger share of suicide victims — due in part to their tendency to choose more violent methods, such as suicide by firearm. Data shared by ODH noted Ohioan men were nearly twice as likely to kill themselves with firearms as women, but firearm suicides make up the largest share of suicides among both genders.

Local counties with the highest rates of suicide include Brown, Adams and Pike counties, all of which had an overall age-adjusted rate of 18-24 suicides per 100,000 residents. Hamilton County ranks among the lowest in the state.

Gov. Mike DeWine urged Ohioans who know someone at risk of suicide to reach out and help them connect them with suicide prevention resources.

“If you know someone is struggling, you may be able to help save someone’s life by recognizing the warning signs and steps to take,” he said.

Signs a person may be considering suicide include:

  • Major changes in mood or behavior, appearing consistently unhappy or depressed.
  • Declining grades or performance in extra-curricular activities
  • A lack of interest in long-running hobbies and passions
  • Openly expressing feelings of hopelessness or not wanting to live anymore
  • Self-harm, such as cutting or burning
  • A personal or family history of depression

Anyone with a friend or loved one exhibiting these signs should:

  • Ask directly whether they are considering suicide
  • Listen to what they need
  • Keep them away from tools they could use to harm themselves
  • Call 911 if necessary.
  • Encourage them to seek counseling or call a crisis hotline.
  • Check in on them consistently to ensure they are OK.