When the taxpayers of Seneca County voted in a new tax in 2008 for mental health and substance abuse services, the board's campaign promise was to share how levy funds were used from 2009 through 2013. Over the next few weeks, the board will describe the programs that have been implemented or sustained through local levy funding.
Last week, the board gave a brief description of crisis intervention training. This week, we'll address the Suicide Prevention Coalition.
In 2002, Ohio released its Suicide Prevention Plan, which stated facts such as (1) the 65-plus aged population has the highest risk of suicide; and (2) the third-leading cause of death among Americans younger than 25 is suicide. The Ohio Department of Mental Health contracted with experts to educate coalitions throughout Ohio regarding the link between untreated depression and suicide.
This training came at a time when Seneca County had completed its first comprehensive health assessment, which showed a higher-than-expected rate of suicide attempts as well as individuals who had a plan for suicide. The first Suicide Prevention Coalition was a single-county effort in Wyandot County, which developed a small, pocket-sized card that is still available for distribution.
As the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board is responsible for the assessment of need and planning for services in Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot counties, the board sets aside levy funds for the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot counties. The Suicide Prevention Coalition meets monthly to discuss research and plan for conferences to educate the public of the risks of suicide.
Did you know law enforcement officers have a high rate of suicide? The Suicide Prevention Coalition offered training that was targeted to law enforcement officers on work-related stress and the danger of suppressing work-related issues to protect their loved ones. The coalition offered a training from Ohio's leading expert in the research of suicide in which she shared data collected on prevention efforts. An example is building walls high enough on a bridge that it cannot be used to jump off. Bullying is a large contributor to tween and teenage suicide, and this will be discussed in another article.
The Suicide Prevention Coalition meets the second Thursday of each month at 9 a.m. at Tiffin Developmental Center's Administration Building, Conference Room 2. All are invited to attend, and the contact is goscheka@Firelands.com.
If you would like more information, please call the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot Counties at (419) 448-0640. The board's office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.
Nancy Cochran, executive director, Mental Health and
Recovery Services Board