Pataskala Officials Want People In Crisis To Call 2-1-1

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The city of Pataskala is reaching out to the community after what it says is a high number of people contemplating suicide.

The city along with Pathway of Central Ohio teamed up to post 2-1-1 signs around town.

“If someone is feeling suicidal and they call the 2-1-1 crisis hotline the phone will be answered by a paid staff member whose gone over 50 hours of training before they even go on the phone,” said Kristin McCloud Executive Director of Pathways of Central Ohio.

On March 4 of this year, Licking County Sheriff's deputies responded to a Pataskala home to find a woman dead along with her husband.
It's murder-suicides like this, that social workers say may be avoided in the future if people in crisis would simply call 2-1-1.

Pathways of Central Ohio operates the 2-1-1 call center for Licking and Knox Counties.  Mccloud says her staff receives suicide calls almost every day. She says most of the time callers are not in financial trouble.  “It’s relationship or loneliness that tends to be the common denominator, “ said McCloud.

“The numbers are frustrating to have this many people under stress that they attempt suicide 69 (times) last year, 32 attempts so far this year.  It's just not an acceptable number for any community,” said Pataskala Mayor Steve Butcher.

The mayor hopes people will think about 2-1-1 like they do 9-1-1 for an emergency the goal is to get people they help they need immediately before their crisis becomes too much for them to handle.

“We're asking people to make themselves aware because even if you don't need it you are going to run into somebody in your family, a neighbor, a relative an acquaintance you just need to say something as simple as call," said the mayor.