More than 13 Ohioans die each day due to opioid related causes, prompting lawmakers, city leaders and health officials to spend millions and take actions to prevent those deaths. But now a new report shows something else might be claiming lives in larger numbers than before.
The Ohio Department of Health says five people die by suicide in Ohio every day, and the suicide rate has soared 45% in the past decade. The rate for adults over 65 is up nearly 50 percent and for children up to age 24, it’s increased by 64%. Suicide is the leading cause of death among kids 10-14.
The new rates baffle health professional like the ODH's Medical Director, Mark Hurst.
“You know the things that we knew about suicide, and I would say no in quotes, we really don’t know anymore," Hurst says.
Hurst says some of the reasons thought to have contributed to suicides in the past don't really fit now.
“We knew in the past that an improving economy was associated with a decreased suicide rate but we have had unprecedented economic growth in the past ten years but we have seen an increase in the suicide rate over that period of time," Hurst says.
The report shows men are four times more likely than women to die by suicide. The highest suicide rates are in Appalachian Ohio.