LISBON, Ohio (WKBN) – According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, it is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.
This month, people are working to raise awareness, including those who have lost loved ones.
The Columbiana County Suicide Prevention Coalition brought together behavioral health providers Friday who provide suicide treatment and counseling. They shared resources and information with the community about the services they offer.
A group of students from Leetonia was at the event. The issue hits home for many of them.
“My uncle’s birthday was yesterday. That’s the reason I’m here today because he committed suicide and he would have turned 28 yesterday,” McFarland said. “It’s definitely personal. Suicide is not something to joke around with. It’s certainly not a game.”
Tyler Klasic was there in support of his friends. Unfortunately, suicide has touched people close to him, too.
“This means a lot to me because I have friends whose siblings have committed suicide. I feel bad for them and I’ve always supported them through everything that’s happened,” Klasic said.
The month of September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Events like the one in Leetonia are happening across the country.
“This is just our local effort to raise awareness for suicide and what can be done to help prevent suicides and death by suicide,” said Marcy Patton, director of the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, one person dies by suicide every five hours in the state. Over five times as many died by suicide in Ohio in 2017 than in alcohol-related crashes.
“We, individually, can help each other by noticing and recognizing the signs that people are in trouble and also recognize all the resources that are available,” said Cathy Grizinski, CEO of Help Network.
Grizinski said me some of the biggest warning signs that someone may be suicidal are if they actually make a threat against their lives, if there is an increase in depression or hopelessness or if they are participating in risky activities.
“For individuals who have lost someone to suicide, we really want to get the message out that they are not alone and that there is help for them and for those who may be struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts or just don’t know. We want to offer that hope that there is help,” Patton said.
Social distancing can make people feel more alone but mental health experts say their goal is to let people know that they’re not alone and it’s okay to ask for help.