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Thursday, April 18
The Indiana Daily Student

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Report indicates suicide rates have risen in Ind.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Indiana residents ages 15 to 54. Between 2006 to 2010, 4,115 Hoosiers took their own lives.

Suicide rates have increased steadily during the last 10 years, said Joan Duwve, Indiana State Department of Health chief medical officer.

In 2010, there were 867 suicides in Indiana, and in 2011, there were 872 suicides.
Suicide is also the third leading cause of death for people ages 10 to 14 and the 11th leading cause of death in Indiana as a whole, according to the Suicide in Indiana
2006-11 report released in September.

Earlier in October, the Jed Foundation, a nonprofit focused on suicide prevention among college students, released a list called “30 Colleges With Excellent Mental Health Services.” IU was not on the list.

There is a correlation between the economy and feelings of hopelessness and depression, Duwve said.

“There may be some connection between people losing homes and job loss and increased rates of suicide,” Duwve said.

Duwve said with the younger age group, the rate of suicide is related to bullying in school.

“We know that bullying really affects how teenagers feel about themselves and their self-worth,” Duwve said.

Duwve said 25 percent of high school students in 2011 reported being bullied.

In 2011, 11 percent of high school students in Indiana had attempted suicide, according to the Suicide in Indiana Report. The attempts included in the report
required medical attention, although many attempts do not.

Nancy Woolery, city liaison for the Monroe County Suicide Prevention Coalition, said the coalition has been offering training for teachers.

The Monroe County Suicide Prevention Coalition works to prevent suicide through research, education and advocacy, Woolery said.

“We hope we can train every teacher,” Woolery said.

Efforts are also being made at the state level to prevent suicide.

Duwve said the state has formed a suicide task force called the Indiana State Suicide Prevention Advisory Committee, which is a group of professionals from the State Department of Health, mental health professionals, suicide survivors and others.

Suicide survivors are family members or close friends of people who have committed suicide.

The group wrote the Indiana State Suicide Prevention Plan called “Journey From Hopelessness to Health,” which explains what people can do to prevent suicide.

It also details what can be done at the state level, schools, individuals, communities and what health care providers can do, Duwve said.

Duwve said the committee believes everybody plays a role in suicide prevention. This includes teachers, colleagues and parents.

“Teachers who have a better understanding of signs in a child who may be considering suicide can help identify students and save lives,” Duwve said. “There is something we can all do.”

Duwve said it is important to increase awareness and break down barriers that keep people from getting healthy.

There is a stigma associated with mental illness that may keep people from getting help, Duwve said. People need to know a mental illness is like any other illness, and they need to be diagnosed appropriately and treated effectively, she said.

Woolery said the coalition works to reduce the stigma.

Many people do not like to talk about suicide or depression because they think it is more a personal issue than a public health issue, Woolery said.

Some of the suicide warning signs include appearing depressed or sad most of the time, talking or writing about death or suicide, withdrawing from family and friends, feeling hopeless, feeling strong anger, abusing alcohol or drugs and writing a will.

Help for people considering suicide can be found by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-SUICIDE.

“A lot of people struggle with mental illnesses on their own because they are afraid to tell anyone and don’t know how to seek professional help,” Duwve said.

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