Every 40 seconds, someone dies by suicide.
Every 41 seconds, someone is left to make sense of it.
In McHenry County, there were 29 reported suicides in the county last year, the McHenry County Coroner reports. Three were young adults between the age of 20 and 25. This year, there has been an increase in suicides of young adults, the coroner reports.
“These suicides have had a devastating effect on the family members and loved ones of those who took their lives as well as the community at large,” said Despina McBride, clinical supervisor of the McHenry County Crisis Program. “Suicide’s most powerful ally is silence so the task force is looking for voices to speak up for those whose voices have been silenced.”
Centegra Health System and the McHenry County Crisis Program join several area crisis agencies in developing a remembrance program as a response to the disturbing increase in suicides in the area. A ceremony and remembrance presentation will take place at 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17 in the Woodstock Square.
Those whose lives have been touched by suicide are invited to be part of the conversation and the healing by contacting task force member Gary Rukin at (847) 650-7709 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org in order to participate in the ceremony.
The suicide task force consists of McHenry County community providers and survivors of suicide who came together after the rise in suicide rates in 2010. Suicide rates doubled in 2010 (37) from 2008 (18). The mission of the task force is to increase awareness and education to the community on the topics of risk factors, warning signs and ways to intervene when someone is suicidal.
According to the task force:
- Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death for all Americans.
- Suicide ranks third as a cause of death among young Americans (15 to 24) behind accidents and homicides.
- Depression and substance abuse are factors in more than 90 percent of all suicides.
- Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
The signs of depression include sadness, fatigue and lack of motivation or energy, lack of interest in formerly pleasurable activities, decreased libido, social isolation, weight loss or loss of appetite, sleep disturbances, lack of self-worth, excessive guilt, increased substance use and difficulty concentrating.
“If someone you love is depressed, invited him or her out, schedule regular social activities, plan and prepare healthy meals, encourage the person to get treated, make sure all medications are taken as instructed and watch for suicide warning signs,” McBride said.
McBride added that community members should take all suicidal threats seriously, model emotional strength, do not deny or minimize severity of problems, do not lecture or preach and do not leave a person alone if risk is high. Assure him or her that help is available and help him or her take first step.
McHenry County Crisis Line, a program funded by the McHenry County Mental Health Board, may be reached by calling 800-892-8900.