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September is Suicide Prevention Month
Posted on: 09/12/2013
By  Andy Rex & Mike Cullums
September is Suicide Prevention Month. To say that suicide is a difficult topic is an understatement. In Ohio, suicide is the second leading killer of people between the ages of 15 and 34. Nationally, someone commits suicide every 14 minutes.

LeeAnn Johnson, wife of Congressman Bill Johnson (R-Marietta), is involved in the effort to educate people about suicide.

“Well, I was asked by a dear friend in DC to get involved with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  After meeting with them, I quickly found out that I had something in common with a few of the members. We were survivors. We had lost loved ones to suicide.”

This year, new legislation took effect in Ohio that's designed to help identify and assist young people who are at risk of taking their lives. LeeAnn Johnson says it's a positive step.

“It is called the Jason Flatt Act.  It essentially equips the schools so that they can provide this training.  It is a requirement of all employees – nurses, counselors, teachers and administrators.  So, they can identify the signs, recognize them, and report them.”

Mrs. Johnson says there’s a local support group that can help recognize the signs that could lead to suicide.
“The Suicide Prevention Coalition of Washington County is our local contact.  I think it’s important to understand that when a life is lost, there are survivors.  So, they also provide counseling to the survivors.  Sometimes, just knowing someone that can come alongside you and understand the emotions and feelings you’re experiencing is enough support in itself.”

And she says the ultimate goal is to keep deeply troubled people from deciding that suicide is the way out.

“Suicide is a very recognizable public health issue.  Through education, advocacy, and research, we can greatly reduce, if not completely annihilate this.”

The Suicide Prevention Coalition of Washington County meets on the first Tuesday of each month at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Marietta. You can call them at (740) 374-6990.

Losing a loved one by suicide can be catastrophic for those left behind. There can be intense pain in not understanding why - what might have been done differently.

The Mid-Ohio Valley Survivors of Suicide Support Group meets along with the Suicide Prevention Coalition on the first Tuesday of each month. To talk with other local survivors of suicide call (304) 615-6244.

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