Signs that someone may be contemplating taking their life

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One person takes their own life every 40 seconds, according to the World Health Organization. Suicide is the leading cause of death among 15 to 29-year-olds.

It's one of the most puzzling tragedies in society today. Some of the people who die by suicide are outwardly very successful. But mental health experts say, no matter one's station in life, there's a common thread in suicide that can't be overlooked.

Dr. John Tilley of Columbus Springs treatment center says most have battled some form of mental illness, like a major depressive disorder.

"In some cases, the person can be thinking about suicide for an extended period of time. something that they've thought about, they've become resolute about and that they carry out, then in other cases, the person might attempt and commit suicide quite impulsively. The plan to hurt themselves can formulate pretty quickly and they act on that," he said.

It's a growing problem and over the past 20 years, the suicide rate across the country has increased by about 30%. In Ohio, the rate is up about 40%.

Ohio's opioid epidemic is being seen as a possible contributor to the higher risk for suicide in the Buckeye State.

"Sometimes the warning signs are difficult to spot and in retrospect, we may feel that we should have seen something coming when it would have been difficult," Dr. Tilley said.

Dr. Tilley says not all people communicate a desire to harm themselves. Not all people appear outwardly to be depressed or suffering from some major mental health condition.

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He says the impulse that triggers a suicide can come quickly and the methods used to end their lives are different for men compared to women.

"Men are more likely to use firearms, hanging, or jumping from high places whereas women tend to attempt suicide thru cutting their wrists or thru overdosing," he said.

Dr. Tilley adds that suicide is absolutely preventable.

"That's why I stress that we make sure we are staying attuned to mental health changes in our family members. Making sure we are on the lookout for those warning signs - like talking about suicide - that will be our best bet on being able to intervene and keep the person safe," he said.

Dr. Tilley says when you hear someone hinting about ending their life, don't assume it's idle chatter. Get them help.

How to get help for yourself or a loved one

If you are having thoughts of harming yourself or thinking about suicide, talk to someone who can help, such as a trusted loved one, your doctor, your licensed mental health professional if you already have one, or go to the nearest hospital emergency department.

If you are concerned a loved one is at risk of suicide, talk to them about it. Experts say you shouldn't be afraid to raise the issue.

For immediate help if you are in a crisis, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls are confidential. You can also get information

Local services

  • Franklin County Suicide Prevention Hotline – (614) 221-5445 – 24/7
  • Suicide Text Line (614) 221-5445 – Monday to Friday, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Teen Hotline (614) 294-3300 – 24/7
  • Senior Hotline (614) 294-3309 – 24/7
  • Suicide Prevention Services – (614) 299-6600 ext. 2073
  • North Central Mental Health Services – (614) 299-6600