Preventing teen suicide: Where to turn for support

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Every year, coroners investigate at least one teen suicide in the Mahoning Valley. Another family that has to deal with unbelievable loss and another school district that brings in counselors to help classmates cope with the tragedy.

Dr. Joseph Ohr with the Mahoning County Coroner’s Office is one of the people who has to make sense of these deaths.

“No one likes to talk about suicide. No one likes to think their friend or family member would commit suicide,” he said.

That makes it hard for young people because they may not know how to let other people know they need help.

“Sometimes half the battle is just finding the words to describe what’s going on inside of you,” said Sarah Tolson with PsyCare in Struthers.

Since 2009, nine young people between the ages of 9 and 17 committed suicide in Mahoning County.

Ohr says in his investigations, he learned that teen suicide victims use the internet beforehand.

“Learning how to load and manipulate a gun, or where on the body to shoot yourself, what combination of pills to take.”

Mental health professionals say there are places to turn for help.

“There are teachers and staff members at your schools that definitely want to help,” Tolson said. “There’s parents, and friends, and neighbors, and agencies that want to help your child and make sure everyone is safe.”

Teens can also find lots of information online on how to prevent suicide.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has numerous resources on its website, including signs to look for and risk factors, treatment and where to find support.

Several other organizations also have resources to help people contemplating suicide:

The Help Hotline Crisis Center has a 24/7 number to call if you are struggling with suicidal thoughts:

  • Mahoning County: 330-747-2696 or 2-1-1
  • Trumbull County: 330-393-1565 or 2-1-1
  • Columbiana County (East Palestine, Beloit, Sebring and western Columbiana County): 330-424-7767 or 1-800-427-3606

If you live in Mercer County, you can call the Crisis Intervention Hotline at 724-662-2227. In Lawrence County, the crisis intervention number is 724-652-9000.

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