Suicide rates on the rise across Ohio

Suicide is a part of a growing mental health crisis in Ohio, according to experts. (WSYX/WTTE)

Suicide is a part of a growing mental health crisis in Ohio, according to experts.

Suicide attempts are on the rise among young people across the state of Ohio, and is now the second leading cause of death among teens in Ohio. That's one of the highest rates in the country.

It's a crisis Wesley Walker knows all too well. Walker attempted to take his own life, now he's speaking out to help others.

"We're in so much pain, and we just want it to stop," said Walker. "I thought I was going to put an end to everything that was going on."

The feelings of depression, along with serious mental health struggles lead Walker to want to end it all. He jumped from a 5-story parking garage, but survived with severe injuries

"I actually shattered by knee cap, my femur, broke my hip, my right ankle and broke bones in my face. I have a lot of hardware in my face, became paralyzed on one said of my face and I have a nice trach hole here and my teeth of course," said Walker.

Consider these numbers: Ohio's suicide rate is up by 36-percent. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for those between 10 and 24 years old.

"We're definitely seeing increases in our suicide rates both in adults and youth," said Shawna Hite-Jones, the program director for the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation.

Hite-Jones pointed out several cries for help parents need to look out for:

  • If your child has long periods of depression
  • Serious changes in mood or behavior
  • Any talk of suicide

"The idea is, when you see those warning signs you want to check in with that person. You want to have a conversation and you want to see if they are struggling," said Hite-Jones.

Medical experts say that the teenage years can be some of the most difficult. They point to the increase in opportunities to develop anxiety and depression; kids trying to fit in and social media also play big part in issues of depression.

Walker now uses his experiences to teach others. He believes his story could help to save lives.

"I don't mind talking about my story because the stigma doesn't affect me. I won't let it affect me. I think the most important thing is knowing that you're not alone," said Walker.

Resources for information about suicide prevention:

Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation

Ohio Suicide Prevention Hotlines

Statistics and information about suicide prevention

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

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Follow Rodney Dunigan on Facebook and Twitter: @rodneywsyx6

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