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September 30, 2022

You’re Not Alone: Preventing Suicide in Ashland County

If you or a loved one is thinking about suicide, we want you to know that you are not alone; help is available. September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. The goal of this blog is to spark local conversations about suicide to increase awareness of the topic, provide information about warning signs and resources for those that may need support, and offer help and hope to those who may be struggling.

Suicide Statistics

The statistics are startling. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 14th leading cause of death overall, the 3rd leading cause of death for those ages 10-24. The suicide rate among men is four times higher than for women. Each year, about 1,600 people die by suicide in Ohio. In 2021, seven people died by suicide in Ashland County, Ohio. The effects of suicide are far-reaching; in a 2019 study, researchers found that up to 135 people are affected to some degree by every person who dies by suicide.

You’re Not Alone

As humans, we all experience ups and downs in life. Going through hard times is inevitable and having suicidal thoughts can be a common response to overwhelming life stress. Suicidal thoughts are often fleeting but can last longer for some people. Because of the stigma still associated with suicide, some folks may find it difficult to talk openly about what they are experiencing. We want you to know that there are many caring people here in Ashland County that you can talk with if you or a loved one needs support.

You are valuable, your life matters, and there is help if you, a friend, or a family member needs it.

Signs that Someone Might be Considering Suicide:

Frequently thinking or talking about death.
Thinking or saying, “I’m better off dead,” or others “would be better off without me.”
Thinking or saying that death is preferable to living.
Avoiding family/friends.
Losing interest in activities that one once found to be enjoyable.
Personal or family history of suicidal thoughts/attempts.
Sleeping too much to escape reality.
Substance use as an attempt to cope with life’s challenges.
Forming a suicide plan.
Obtaining lethal means to carry out a plan.

Tips for Helping:

If you notice any of these signs in someone you know, you can offer support by simply talking with them about what they are experiencing. You can ask a question like “are you thinking about suicide,” or “are you thinking about hurting yourself,” to safely open the conversation to the topic. It is important to truly listen to what the person has to say, with your full attention. This shows that you genuinely care and can help instill hope. Refrain from making judgmental statements, it is important to let people speak without being criticized or shamed for how they are feeling. Remind this person that things can and will get better- sometimes we lose sight of that when times are hard.

If you or someone you know is having a hard time and experiencing suicidal thoughts, please do not hesitate to call the local 24/7 hotline at 419/289-6111 or text 4HOPE to 741741 for support.

If you are interested in getting people at your organization trained in QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) suicide prevention training at no cost, please contact the Mental Health & Recovery Board at 419/281-3139.

If you are interested in learning more about what Ashland County is doing to prevent suicide, please download and review the Ashland County Suicide Prevention Plan here.

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