Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States, claiming the lives of nearly 48,183 people in 2021. During 2021, firearms accounted for 54.64% of all suicide deaths. On average, there are 132 suicides per day. And there was an estimated 1.70M suicide attempts that year, too. In 2020 (latest data available), the state of Ohio had 1,644 suicides making suicide the 14th leading cause of death in Ohio as reported by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Additionally, AFSP shares suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for ages 10-24, the 3rd leading cause of death for ages 25-34, the 4th leading cause of death for ages 35-44, the 7th leading cause of death for ages 45-54, the 12th leading cause of death for ages 55-64, and the 19th leading cause of death for ages 65+ (afsp.org/statistics). Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) adds that there is one suicide death in the US every 10.9 minutes. And according to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 703,000 people die by suicide worldwide each year.
To help combat this crisis, Ohio recently launched the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. This easy-to-remember three-digit number (988) will accept calls, texts, and chats online at 988lifeline.org 24/7 from anyone who needs support from a trained counselor for a suicidal, mental health, or addiction crisis.
It is important to note that 988 did not replace the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) 1-800-272-TALK (8255) or text line. Rather 988 builds on the existing system by utilizing a new and easy-to-remember number to provide access to mental health services. Ohioan’s experiencing suicidal thoughts can still call the still-existing NSPL number or text 4hope to 741741 to be connected to a trained crisis specialist. Additionally, 988 did not replace 911; if you or someone you know is in imminent danger, call 911.
People can also call 988 if they are concerned about a loved one in crisis. If you have repeated suicidal thoughts and would like to develop a safety plan for yourself to share with those you trust, download the MY3 app from the National Suicide Prevention Life line.
Locally in Adams County, we have a dedicated group of citizens that make up the Adams County Suicide Awareness and Prevention (ACSAP) Coalition. The Coalition meets the second Tuesday of every month from 5:30 PM-6:30 PM at the Adams County Government Annex. Survivors, professionals, supporters, and anyone who is interested in the issues surrounding suicide are invited to join us for open discussion; the planning and hosting of suicide prevention and awareness activities; and/or support others who have lost someone to suicide by joining the LOSS (Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors) Team. For more information, email ACSAPstandwithus@gmail.com.
“This September 16th, we are excited to host our annual walk on the Courthouse Square. We hope to see you there,” ACSAP Chair, Jazz Osman, told The Informer when sitting down for some one-on-one questions about the group, the annual event they hold every year, and the importance of a group like this in our community.
Let’s take a moment to stop and find out more about the ACSAP.
How was ACSAP formed? – The group was started with the purpose to raise awareness and prevent suicide, including raising and distributing funds in association with suicide awareness and prevention activities, with hopes of saving lives and one day ending suicide. We also want folks in our community to no longer suffer in silence but to have a support system for survivors and those with mental illness to know they are not alone in this county. Our group has expanded into a Coalition and is accepting members and volunteers.
How does ACSAP spend the funds raised and issued to them? – The funds go towards purchasing literature (and other supplies such as tissues) for Survivors and those with mental illness or suicidal thoughts, suicide prevention signage around the county, annual walk supplies, and training in prevention. We have also paid copays for mental health services for those who could not afford them.
What does the group do in the community? – We host an annual walk in September where we promote prevention and awareness and also help those struggling to find help through mental health services and through the literature and resources we provide. We also run a Facebook page to promote suicide prevention and awareness. Our forming LOSS Team will also provide local outreach to suicide survivors.
What is the importance of having a walk? – At the annual walk, we are together. We are leaning on each other for support. We are remembering those who are lost. We are spreading awareness of suicide topics to attendees. Participants don’t have to walk; there are other activities that require less physical activity. Each year we try to focus on a topic; topics have included personal experiences with suicide and suicide loss, gun safety, and suicide warning signs and how to help. No matter the topic that brings us together, we are coming together to stand against suicide. We are trying to erase the stigma attached to suicide and getting help for mental illness and suicidal thoughts.
We will have t-shirts for sale on a first-come, first-served basis. And you can order from our shirt vendor at https://james-mason-designs.square.site/.
Registration forms can be found on our Facebook page and be requested via email. We also have a digital registration form this year, Scan the code on the flyer for access.
Information can currently be found on our Facebook page or via email at ACSAPstandwithus@gmail.com.