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Increase in Allen County suicides worries health officials; see warning signs, tips to help prevent suicides

According to information collected from Allen County death certificates, 75 people killed themselves in 2017. The average age of those who took their own life last year was 44, according to a health department news release. In 2014, 50 people committed suicide in Allen County.

The Indiana Suicide Prevention Network Advisory Council hosted its 4th annual Indiana Suicide Prevention Conference in Fort Wayne on Friday at Parkview Mirro Center. Kevin Hines, who survived his September 2000 suicide attempt by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge, attended.

“There are several organizations in our community doing great things to help improve access to mental health services; however, healthcare professionals, counselors, public health experts, and the media need to intensify their efforts to address this crisis and reduce the stigma of mental health,” Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan said in the release.

Indiana’s rate has increased by nearly 32 percent from 1999 to 2016, while the national average rose to about 25 percent, according to the CDC at According to the CDC, more than half of Americans who died by suicide did not have a known mental health condition.

Ways to help

• Ask someone you are worried about if they’re thinking about suicide.

• Keep them safe. Reduce access to lethal means for those at risk.

• Be there with them. Listen to what they need.

• Help them connect with ongoing support like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, which is answered 24 hours a day.

• Follow up to see how they’re doing.

• Find out how to save a life by visiting:

Information courtesy of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC)

Know the 12 suicide warning signs

•Feeling like a burden

•Being isolated

•Increased anxiety

•Feeling trapped or in unbearable pain

•Increased substance use

•Looking for a way to access lethal means

•Increased anger or rage

•Extreme mood swings

•Expressing hopelessness

•Sleeping too little or too much

•Talking or posting about wanting to die

•Making plans for suicide

Information courtesy of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC)

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