Trumbull’s suicide rate ranks 9th in Ohio

Mary Kopiak, Warren, talks about the lost of her daughter Valerie during the 12th annual Suicide Awareness Walk. Photo by Christina Ramey

WARREN — Trumbull County has one of the highest suicide rates in Ohio, making the top 10 of Ohio’s 88 counties, according to a report from the Ohio Alliance for Innovation on Population Health released last week.

The group tracked the number of suicides from 2008 to 2017. Trumbull County was ranked ninth with a rate of 17.1 suicides per 100,000 people, according to the report.

Neighboring Ashtabula County ranked fifth with a rate of 18 per 100,000 population.

Columbiana County just avoided the top 10, ranking 11th at 16.7 per 100,000 and Mahoning County ranked 45th at 12.9 suicides per 100,000, the report shows.

However, numbers from the Trumbull County Coroner’s Office show the trend may be reversing locally. In 2017, Trumbull County recorded 40 suicides, the highest in a decade and the last year the study examined.

Last year, the county recorded 29 suicides, tying the 2009 total, numbers from the coroner’s office show. Since 2008 — the first year studied by the Ohio Alliance for Innovation on Population Health — the lowest numbers of suicides occurred in 2013 with 25 and in 2011 with 27.

As of March 15 — the most recent date available from the coroner’s office — there have been nine suicides. All but eight victims were men, and all but seven used a gun. The other two were a hanging and a person who stepped in front of a semi truck. That victim was a 39-year-old veteran with drug and relationship issues, according to the coroner’s statistics.

Most of the victims used a gun, and drugs or alcohol were involved in more than half of the deaths.

The coroner’s data shows since 2008, 22 victims were 80 and older, with the oldest victim being 95. That victim — who died in 2018 — also was a veteran who had health issues and lost his wife about two months prior, according to the report.

The data also shows 67 of the victims were 30 and younger, with the youngest one being a 13-year-old boy who hung himself in 2009 over social stressors. In fact, social or relationship issues were listed as the stressor in all but 11 of the deaths for those 30 and younger. Seven of the young people had mental illness, and four were listed as unknown in the data.

April Caraway, executive director the Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board, said reasons for suicide vary, but finances and relationship issues are the most common. And because most of the victims are middle-aged white men, the Trumbull County Suicide Prevention Coalition is using billboards to make men aware of a program called “Mantherapy.” One billboard is across from the Eastwood Mall in Niles, just blocks away from the building where the mental health board meets.