Note: This story appears in the Wednesday, Oct. 30 newspaper on Page A1.

JACKSON — Several individuals from the community recently met in the conference room at the Jackson County Health Department to discuss the prevalence of suicide in Ohio.

The meeting was hosted by the Jackson County Substance-Abuse Prevention & Addiction Resource Council (SPARC). Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation Program Director Michelle Price spoke about suicide rates in the state.

Price shared data from the Ohio Alliance for Innovation in Population Health (OAIPH) and Ohio Public Data Warehouse (OPDW).

The OAIPH released a study in May 2019 that reviewed suicide fatalities in Ohio from 2008 through 2017. The study showed that there were 15,246 Ohio suicide fatalities between January 2008 and December 2017. These fatalities, according to the report, accounted for 1.3 percent of all Ohio deaths.

Appalachian Ohio reported higher suicide rates per 100,000 population than the remainder of Ohio. Three Appalachian counties; Meigs (21.5), Jackson (19.9), and Hocking (19.7), had the highest average suicide death rates per 100,000 population.

The report detailed that males were at a much greater risk for suicide with an average ten-year rate of 21.4 percent. The average suicide death rate for females during the study period was 5.4 percent. Suicide rates for the period were highest among persons between the ages of 50 and 59 (19.5), followed by Ohioans between the ages of 40 and 49 (17.2).

In 2017, young adults (persons between the ages of 20 and 29) exhibited the highest suicide rate per age group (20.1).

Excluding pre-adolescents, the rate of increasing suicide fatalities was highest among the senior citizen age cohort (60 plus) where fatality rates climbed from 12.4 deaths per 100,000 in 2008 to 19.5 deaths in 2017. This was an overall 57.1 percent increase.

The study found that firearms accounted for 50.9 percent of all suicide fatalities for the ten-year period, followed by other (33.3 percent) and self-poisoning (15.8 percent).

In Jackson County, according to data from OPDW, there were a total of 74 suicide deaths from 2009 through 2019. The highest year during that period was 2017 with a total of 11 deaths.

So, far in 2019, there have been a total of eight deaths.

Price then shared her knowledge regarding suicide coalition formation, and by the end of the meeting, it was decided that a suicide prevention committee would be formed to service the communities of Jackson County.

Two individuals, Crystal Rankin and Jill Salmons, both from Hopewell Health Centers, stepped forward and volunteered to co-chair the committee until formal elections could be held.

The next meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 5, at 11 a.m. in the conference room at the Jackson County Health Department. Local stakeholders from the community are encouraged to attend.

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