ZANESVILLE, Ohio- Muskingum County is on pace to have the most suicide deaths ever.
In 2016 there were 18 suicide deaths. The first 2 months of 2018, there has already been seven. Health Department Medical Director Dr. Vicki Whitacre said changes in a persons behavior or personality are key signs that there could be a problem.
“They’re having trouble sleeping, seemed depressed, maybe doing risky things like abusing drugs or alcohol. They’re just not the person you knew. And if you notice changes in someone and that they may be in trouble you need to approach them and ask them are you thinking of suicide,” said Dr. Whitacre.
Dr. Whitacre said for the age group of 14 to 24 there has been an increase in suicide rates over the last few years. She said suicide has now risen from the third leading cause of death to the second. She said there needs to be a change with how suicide is talked about.
“Suicide is an illness, the result of being mentally ill or having a significantly upsetting event, it’s not a crime. It used to be considered a crime and we use the word commit and now you really should say this person died from suicide or of suicide just like they died from cancer or some illness like pneumonia,” said Dr. Whitacre.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available to anyone by calling 1-800-273-8255 or by texting 741741.