Suicide: Youngstown's Taboo Topic

Laura Steele, 46, was a local news anchor here in the Youngstown, Ohio area. Last week, it was announced publicly that she passed away. But, on facebook it was discussed that she "took her own life." Her funeral will be later this week.

My curiosity lead be to do a search of "Youngstown Ohio Suicide," and I was surprised what I found. Laura Bowman, 13, passed away on August 13, 2016 after questions of bullying. Cassandra West, 19, and Christopher Ocasio, 21, were found "hanging in their room," in April 2015 in Boardman, Ohio. Colin Hart, 18, and Jamie Serich, 17 had self-inflicted gun shot wounds in December 2009 in Youngstown.

I remember the announcement of the death of Robin Williams in 2014, and this was the first time that I saw actual public discourse about the topic of depression and suicide. But, like all news cycles, the discussion faded. And, in local communities, like Youngstown, Ohio, topics like suicide are hardly brought up publicly or privately.

Know the warning signs of suicide. The American Association of Suicidiology has identified these eight signs to watch out for: Ideation, Substance Abuse, Purposelessness, Anxiety, Trapped, Hopelessness, Withdrawal, Anger, Recklessness, and Mood changes. The easier to remember mnemonic: "IS PATH WARM"

Unfortunately, progress raising awareness about suicide prevention occurs following tragedies like this one. I know the stigma is still there, and this topic is very difficult to talk about. But, imagine, if we get the courage to talk about suicide and raise awareness about suicide prevention,  can we prevent one future tragedy from happening? I think we can...