On Thursday, September 20, the Clermont County Mental Health and Recovery Board (MHRB), the Clermont County Suicide Prevention Coalition, and Mental Health America of Southwest Ohio invites those who have been touched by suicide to attend a candlelight vigil to remember, honor, and cherish the lives of those lost to suicide in Clermont County. The vigil will begin at 7 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park in Union Township, and will include the ceremonial lighting of candles and a balloon release.
Five million Americans have lost a close family member or friend to death by suicide, and the Coalition is hoping the candlelight vigil will help create awareness, and allow those who have lost a loved to suicide have the opportunity to come together, grieve and heal. “There is such a stigma surrounding suicide that those left behind often suffer in silence,” said MHRB Associate Director Dr. Lee Ann Watson.
In 2011, there were 27 deaths suicids in Clermont County; as of August 2012, there have been 20. “Our death by suicide rates have been slowing climbing since 2000,” said Dr. Watson. “We believe this has a lot to do with the economy. The number of youth suicides has decreased, but middle aged men continue to be at a higher risk.”
The Clermont MHRB has been putting their suicide hotline number on the back of all high school identification badges for the past two years. “We think this has been helping,” said Dr. Watson. “We are also planning our second suicide prevention youth summit for November 13 in which all county high schools will be participating.”
The suicide hotline number is 528-SAVE (7283). For more information about the candlelight vigil, contact Dr. Watson at 732-5406 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.