ZANESVILLE, Ohio — The Muskingum County Suicide Prevention Coalition will hold their 14th Annual Suicide Awareness Banquet next Thursday.
The banquet is held to celebrate what the local county coalitions have been doing to raise awareness about suicide, while also trying to eliminate the stigmas associated with it. The goal to reduce the number of suicides in our communities.
Muskingum County recorded an alarming number of suicides within the community last year, and the problem is spreading to our youth and young adults.
“Last year we had 18 deaths from suicide in our county, in Muskingum, alone. That’s the highest number we’ve ever had that I’m aware of in one year. Very concerning statistic, mostly middle-aged, younger people. It’s also become the second leading cause of death in our youth, 14-24,” said Vicki Whitacre, M.D., a member of the Muskingum County Suicide Prevention Coalition.
Whitacre adds that there are signs that people should be aware of if they think someone is having suicidal thoughts.
“Most people do give some warning signals and you need to be aware of those. There are an occasional person who doesn’t give any warning signals; they really don’t want to die but they feel hopeless and feel there is no other way to take care of what’s hurting them,” explained Whitacre.
The other big epidemic affecting Muskingum County and other surrounding areas is addiction. Dr. Mark Hurst, the Medical Director for the state’s Mental Health and Addiction Services, will be speaking at the dinner regarding suicide and it’s hidden risk within addiction.
The dinner, beginning at 6:30PM, will be held at Coburn United Methodist Church and is open to all community members. Reservations are due by April 20th and can be made by calling the Mental Health Recovery Board at (740)454-8557.