BY: DAVID SHEPHERD, NEWS DIRECTOR
DUBOIS COUNTY -- Suicide rates are on the rise nationwide, according to new numbers released recently by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.
"For the last 13 years in the United States [the] suicide rate has gone up and, in Indiana alone, our suicide rate has gone up for over 20 years now," says Janet Schnell with Survivors of Suicide - Dubois County.
In Dubois County, Schnell explains, "We are still below the state average, but one suicide death affects 147 what we call suicide loss survivors. So, in Dubois County alone, we have over 20,000 suicide loss survivors."
WITZ News Director David Shepherd asked Schnell why she thinks the suicide rates continue to climb.
"I wish I had the answer, you know, I can have an opinion," Schnell responded. "One of the opinions coming out is that people are not making enough money to be able to afford treatment. That's one of the very basic concepts that we have noticed that, if there was an increase in wages, people would be able to afford extra services like when they're having thoughts of suicide."
Schnell also believes there is still a stigma surrounding mental health, which could keep some from seeking help. "The other part is I think the people are afraid. They're ashamed. Especially men."
And, while there are some services available locally, Schnell thinks more can be done to address the growing number of suicide deaths here in Dubois County.
" It would be absolutely wonderful if we could have a coordinator for the suicide prevention program like many of the other cities do because this is such a big issue that spreading it out between multiple agencies doesn't work," explains Schnell. " We need to have one person who is solely dedicated to addressing the issue."
Survivors of Suicide of Dubois County hosts a monthly support group meeting at Trinity United Church of Christ on the second Monday of every month from 7 until 9 p.m.
If you're in need to help, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-(800) 273-8255.