Suicide Rates Among Ohio’s Youth and Elderly Jumped Over Last Decade, Report Shows
By Jim Woods
The Columbus Dispatch – https://www.dispatch.com/news/20191113/suicide-rates-among-ohiorsquos-youth-and-elderly-jumped-over-last-decade-report-shows
Posted Nov 13, 2019 at 7:37 PM
Suicide rates in Ohio have increased dramatically among youths and those more than 65 years of age from 2007 through 2018, according to an Ohio Department of Health report released Wednesday.
Suicide is now the leading cause of death for youths between 10 and 14 in the state of Ohio. Statewide, 5 people die by suicide every day and one youth dies every 33 hours, the report states.
Ohio’s suicide rate is increasing, especially among youths between the ages of 10 and 24, with a 56% increase in deaths from 2007 through 2018, according to a state Department of Health report released Wednesday.
A young person dies by suicide every 33 hours in Ohio, and five people of all ages die every day, the report states.
“Suicide in Ohio and nationally is a growing public health epidemic, particularly among young people,” said Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton.
“Suicide is the leading cause of death among Ohioans ages 10-14 and the second-leading cause of death among Ohioans ages 15-24,” Acton said.
There were 271 people between the ages of 10 and 24 who killed themselves in 2018. That is only two more deaths in that age group from the previous year.
But the trend becomes more alarming when viewed over more than a decade, as there were 174 such suicides in 2007.
Dr. Mark Hurst, medical director for the Ohio Department of Health, said the trend is alarming.
“It’s important to identify youngsters that are having trouble so that there can be intervention,” he said.
Hurst said it’s important to be aware if a youngster is suddenly becoming secretive, staying in his or her room and cutting off communication with others.
“We shouldn’t assume that a young person is just going through a phase if they are showing symptoms,” Hurst said.
Tony Coder, executive director of the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation, said the state’s report underscores that more resources need to be devoted to help young people.
“It’s a public health problem that needs to be addressed ASAP,” Coder said.
It’s apparent there needs to be outreach all the way down to the elementary school level, he said.
Overall in Ohio, the number of suicides increased to 1,836 in 2018 from 1,744 in 2017, an increase of 5.2%. Since 2007, however, the number of suicides has increased by 44.8%, from the 1,268 suicides recorded that year.
In addition to the increases in the younger demographic, suicides have increased substantially for adults 65 or older since 2007.
There were 333 suicides in that age group last year compared with 176 in 2007, a 90% increase.
Hurst said that it’s important to know that suicidal thoughts tend to be brief in nature. He said it’s important to reach out to those who are experiencing feelings of hopelessness.
“Suicide is a very complicated public health issue. When we look at the statistics, you can’t lose sight that it is someone’s son or daughter,” Hurst said.
For help, reach Ohio’s 24/7 Crisis Text Line by texting 4HOPE to 741741, or call the Franklin County Suicide Prevention Hotline at 614-221-5445; the Teen Suicide Prevention Hotline at 614-294-3300; or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255/TALK (1-888-628-9454 for Spanish speakers).
The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) is pleased to announce that the Recovery Requires a Community program has expanded to help individuals who have transitioned to the community from a nursing facility and are at immediate risk of readmission. As of November 1, 2019, Recovery applications have been accepted from individuals who are planning to transition from a nursing facility and those who have transitioned from a nursing facility within the past ninety (90) days and need assistance to continue living in the community. Program information, including eligibility criteria and application forms, is available at www.mha.ohio.gov/rrac. If you have questions or need technical assistance, please contact OhioMHAS via email at Recovery@mha.ohio.gov or call (614)644-0617
The Appalachian Ohio Mental Health & Housing Conference event will bring together students, academics, care providers, community organizations and families affected by mental illness to discuss the unique and challenging needs of the mental health service systems in Appalachian and rural Ohio communities.
The event will be moderated by former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, and feature keynote presentations along with panel discussions and opportunities for audience member feedback.
The afternoon session will provide the opportunity for attendees to network and visit exhibit tables featuring local community organizations.
Buffet lunch will be provided for all conference attendees.
Registration for this event is still open at:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/appalachian-se-ohio-mental-health-housing-conference-tickets-66700110827?utm-medium=discovery&utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&aff=escb&utm-source=cp&utm-term=listing&fbclid=IwAR0_MSL9lRYNEjrMpVy-CUa-UVszZFKqxZq1eDf2coL8G3PlteBNsbIG1hI
Click to download the Updated Agenda
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and its Foundation Commit $214,000 to Address Mental Health and Homelessness in Southeast Ohio
Multi-pronged funds target intertwined social determinants of health
ATHENS, OHIO. – July 31, 2019 – The Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Ohio and its Foundation have announced a funding commitment targeting homelessness and mental health in southeast Ohio. The funds totaling $214,000 have been awarded to The National Alliance on Mental Illness Ohio (NAMI) and the Adam-Amanda Mental Health Rehabilitation Center. The funds represent one of largest financial commitments southeast Ohio has ever received to address mental health and homelessness, interrelated societal issues that are nearly impossible to address separately.
“These smart, locally-focused partnerships have the potential to change lives and have a lasting impact,” said Ohio House of Representatives Majority Whip Jay Edwards (R-Athens). “This is an important step forward for our area. I appreciate Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation’s commitment to Southeast Ohio and their focus on the ‘whole health’ of people.”
The Foundation is partnering with community organizations and social service agencies to make progress on social determinants of health in southeast Ohio and throughout the state — factors like homelessness, food insecurity, unsafe neighborhoods, and others that impact people’s lives and create barriers to good health. Anthem Behavioral Health Medical Director Elizabeth Bonanno, M.D. says it’s part of a larger shift in how Anthem approaches its mission to focus on the whole person.
“Anthem is committed to improving lives and communities, and to do that we must focus on the whole health of a person. If someone is unsure where they’re going to sleep at night or struggling with other social barriers, they can’t focus on their health, which leads to poor health conditions. That is why it is important to deal with them in concert with health care treatment,” explained Dr. Bonanno. “These are difficult issues, but addressing them through creative community partnerships is a smart strategy.”
The funds will fund several initiatives in Athens and throughout southeast Ohio, including:
- NAMI of Ohio will use funds to provide financial incentives to landlords in surrounding communities to encourage them to take clients with mental health conditions. The funds will also be used to support clients leaving the Adam-Amanda MHRC to secure supportive housing by assisting them to become financially stable, obtain basic living supplies, and maintain their connection to outpatient mental health services.
- Adam-Amanda Mental Health Rehabilitation Center in Athens – The Adam-Amanda MHRC will purchase an array of equipment to support physical health for patients as they received mental health care, including fitness equipment, fitness trackers, and bicycles. Funds will also be used to support gardening, healthy cooking and artistic expression programs that contribute to long-term mental health. As patients transition from the center back to home, the funding from Anthem and its Foundation will be used to provide rent support, help with paying bills, vouchers for farmers markets, and home goods needed to create a stable home environment. Last fall, Anthem also provided a 16-passenger van to the Adam-Amanda MHRC to assist with patient transportation.
- Appalachian SE Ohio Mental Health & Housing Instability Conference – as part of Anthem’s work with NAMI, the two organizations are planning Southeast Ohio Mental Health & Housing Stability Conference at Ohio University on Oct. 7, 2019. The event will bring together academics, care providers, community organizations and families to address issues specific to Southeast Ohio. REGISTER HERE
NAMI Ohio Executive Director Terry Russel says that the closely-related issues of homelessness and mental health are particularly critical in the 21-county region of Southeast Ohio where 20 percent of people discharged from psychiatric hospitals are likely to be homeless. He pointed out that 60 to 70 percent of people that are chronically homeless in the region suffer from mental health issues.
“NAMI Ohio recognizes that the current mental health system in Ohio is not meeting all of the needs of our severely mentally ill population, especially in southeastern Ohio,” said Russell. “That is the reason NAMI Ohio and other partners created the Adam-Amanda Mental Health Rehabilitation Center where individuals leaving residential treatment can stay for up to 90 days while stabilizing and receiving services to help them transition back into the community.”
Through the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation’s funding, NAMI Ohio is also currently working to develop 90 beds of stable housing in the southeastern Ohio community where individuals will be able to go once they leave the Adam-Amanda Mental Health Rehabilitation Center. The program provides funding to support landlords in southeast Ohio in making apartments and other rental properties available to people leaving treatment at Adam-Amanda Center.
“We often have to do what we can with the limited resources we have in this area. Anthem and its Foundation have given us the opportunity to create new possibilities for the future of mental health care in our 21-county southeast Ohio service area,” said Adam-Amanda MHRC Clinical Coordinator Margaret Sterling, LPCC-S. “As one example, we were able to work with a gentleman stuck in that revolving door for five years because of the lack of stable housing. But he graduated from our program in December and since then, he has been in the same apartment, seeing his treatment team regularly, and has not had any hospitalizations.”
Russell says mental health rehabilitation services such as those offered through the Adam-Amanda Mental Health Rehabilitation Center should be made available in every community in Ohio and it is the goal of NAMI Ohio to make that a reality.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Ohio (NAMI Ohio) is the statewide alliance that serves as the voice on mental illness. The organization is comprised of thousands of family members, individuals, advocates and professionals working together to ensure that Ohioans with mental illness and their loved ones receive the treatment and support they need. Additional information about NAMI Ohio is available at www.namiohio.org
About Hopewell Health Centers
Hopewell is a Community Mental Health Center and an FQHC providing Behavioral Health, Primary Care and Dental Services for all ages in nine counties in southeast Ohio. Hopewell Health Centers, Inc. mission is to provide access to affordable, high quality, integrated healthcare for all.
About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation
Through charitable grant making, the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation LLC, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, promotes Anthem’s inherent commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield serves. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that make up its Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets: maternal health, diabetes prevention, cancer prevention, heart health and healthy, active lifestyles, behavioral health efforts and programs that benefit people with disabilities. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s year-round Dollars for Dollars program which provides a 100 percent match of associates’ donations, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. To learn more about the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, please visit http://www.anthem.foundation and its blog at https://medium.com/anthemfoundation.
About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Ohio:
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of Community Insurance Company, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Ohio is available at www.anthem.com.
NAMI Ohio, the state’s voice for mental illness, thanks the Governor and members of the Ohio House of Representatives and Senate for approving a biennium budget that will significantly impact both adults and children living with mental illness. We are especially appreciative to the Governor for including significant funding for student wellness and success.
The current mental health system for children is certainly not equipped to treat many of the children needing care. We appreciate the insight that if we are going to treat children with mental illness, we must involve the school systems. In addition to mental health counseling, other programs such as mentoring, wraparound services, and after school programming will now be available to children with the highest level of need.
Although NAMI Ohio has advocated for years that we must address the needs for kids, this is the first time our pleas have been heard. Another important element of this budget is the funding for k-12 prevention education initiatives. This funding will allow schools to purchase prevention curriculum and provide quality prevention services.
Suicide is an epidemic in this state and all over the country. By reducing stigma and educating anyone in contact with youth on how to recognize signs of suicide and intervene, we will save lives.
For so many years, the 500,000 citizens of this state who lives have been invaded by mental illness have felt ignored and alone. Today, the state government recognized that we can provide services that will enable so many people to achieve the American dream.
Terry L. Russell
For additional information and a more detailed response: Biennium Budget
Dear Friends of NAMI Ohio,
NAMI Ohio has been very involved with what has been called the “redesign of the mental health and addiction system” under managed care in Ohio.
Recently, the Ohio Department of Medicaid developed a process to submit public input on the redesign implementation in Ohio. I think it is fair to say that this implementation has been less than positive for those that we represent.
The plan document can be found at: Public Comment: HCBS Statewide Transition Plan.
Once on the webpage:
- Click on the link that says SUMMARY for a short overview of the plan
- Click on the link that says DETAIL to download a full copy of the report
Individuals may also contact the Ohio Department of Medicaid at (1-800-364-3153) to request a paper copy of the posting and associated documents.
The comment period will last until midnight on July 15, 2019.
Please review the plan and submit comments.
Comments MUST be submitted by midnight of July 15, 2019 using one of the following options:
- E-mail: HCBSfeedback@medicaid.ohio.gov
- Written comments sent to:
Attn: HCBS Statewide Transition Plan
Ohio Department of Medicaid
P.O. Box 182709, 5th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
- FAX:(614) 752-7701 (please include Attn. HCBS Statewide Transition Plan in the subject line)
- Calling toll-free to leave a voicemail message at: 1 (800) 364-3153
- Courier or in-person submission to: Attn: BLTCSS, Lazarus Building, 50 W. Town St., Columbus OH 43215.
It is crucial that the Department of Medicaid receive comments from those living with mental illness, family members and caregivers, and individuals working with anyone who has been affected by mental illness.
If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact ODM at
Terry L. Russell