The Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center is observing Mental Health Month in May by focusing on suicide prevention. Suicide is a serious public health problem in Lake County, where 52 suicides took place in 2012, more than twice the number of homicides reported that year (which was 25). Nationwide, suicide is also a leading cause of death among youth. In 2012, there were seven suicide deaths in Lake County among children up to age 20.
The Heath Department is encouraging the community to recognize the warning signs of suicide. A person in acute risk for suicidal behavior may show signs such as talking about hurting or killing him or herself. An individual may also explore ways to act on suicidal ideation by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means as well as writing about death, dying or suicide, when these actions are out of the ordinary.
Additional warning signs include:
• Increased substance (alcohol or drug) use
• No reason for living; no sense of purpose in life
• Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
• Withdrawing from friends, family and society
• Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
• Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
• Dramatic mood changes
If you observe these warning signs in an individual, you should seek help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional or calling the Lake County Crisis Line: (847) 377-8088.
The Health Department is a member of the Lake County Suicide Task Force, which meets on the second Monday of every month from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Health Department, 3010 Grand Avenue in Waukegan (third floor Board Room). The public is welcome to attend. The mission of the Task Force is to deepen awareness, prevent suicide and save lives through education, linkage to resources and treatment within the community. For more information on the task force, call: (847) 377-8180.