Health Department Studies Local Suicide Numbers

A Berrien County Health Department report shows 26 people lost their lives to suicide in the county last year. Spokesperson Gillian Conrad tells WSJM News Berrien is following national trends on that front.

“What is really concerning is suicide is now the second leading cause of death in the United States for people ages ten through 34,” Conrad said.

Conrad says among the younger population, the most common causes of suicide might be stress, social isolation, and unaddressed mental health problems. Older white males are actually the most likely to commit suicide in Berrien County. Conrad says the report also raises another concern.

“One statistic that’s in the report that I find to be particularly chilling is that for every one completed suicide, there about 25 attempts of suicide.”

By that estimate, there would have been about 650 suicide attempts in the county last year. Conrad says it’s important for everyone to know the resources available for help, both for those who may be feeling suicidal or those who know someone showing signs of depression. She recommends BerrienCares.org, the website of the Berrien County Suicide Prevention Coalition. They offer access to classes and events. There’s also the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which connects callers with volunteers who have themselves been suicidal. They can connect people to specialists. Finally, Conrad says there is now a text line. It’s 741741.

You can find the Berrien County Health Department’s report on suicides right here.