Clermont County hosts its annual Suicide Awareness Day candlelight vigil on Tuesday and the health department released some startling statistics ahead of it.
The county saw the 16th highest number of suicides in Ohio from 2008 to 2017, with more than 300 people taking their own lives. Nearly half died from firearms.
"The data also revealed a troubling reality unfolding across Appalachian Ohio, which is home to nine of Ohio's 10 counties with the highest suicide rates per 100,000 population over the past 10 years," notes the Ohio University College of Health Sciences and Professions. "…White individuals who reside in economically distressed Appalachian communities continue to exhibit the highest suicide rate in Ohio."
Dr. Lee Ann Watson, associate director of the Clermont County Mental Health and Recovery Board, noted that there were 31 suicides in Clermont County in 2018, with 42% of those deaths occurring in those ages 50-59. She cites untreated mental health concerns, substance misuse, isolation and financial and relationship problems as leading factors.
"Lack of hope and social isolation is a breeding ground for this tragedy," Watson said in a news release. "We're just beginning to address the aftermath of the opioid crisis in our county. There's a very high correlation between substance misuse and suicide."
What is happening in Clermont County reflects a national trend, Watson said.
Clermont County maintains an around-the-clock crisis hotline at 513-528-SAVE for people who feel suicidal.
"Seeking help is a sign of strength," Watson said. "If you are alarmed, go with your instincts and seek professional help. Reaching out to a friend you are troubled about is also a sign of strength."
Dr. Lee Ann Watson joins Cincinnati Edition to talk about the county’s efforts.
The Clermont County Suicide Prevention Coalition will join with the Cincinnati Chapter of the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention this year for the 18th annual Candlelight Vigil honoring loved ones lost to suicides. The vigil will be held Sept. 10, National Suicide Awareness Day, at 7 p.m. at Riverside Park, 425 Victor Stier Drive, Milford. For more information, please contact Lee Ann Watson at 732-5400.
Also, in September, Clermont County will join 14 counties across Ohio to Stand Up to Suicide. Communities are coming together to train the most people possible in the suicide prevention tactics of Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR). In 90 minutes, QPR training will equip you with the skills to recognize and intervene when someone is showing signs of a suicidal crisis.
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