By Ashley González
ODMH Public Information Officer
An alarming number of suicide attempts in recent months by high school students in Chardon, Ohio, has concerned state officials, including staff at the Ohio departments of Mental Health and Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services, who are working with local officials to develop a plan to prevent more attempts from occurring.
Between May and September, suicide was attempted seven times by six Chardon High School students. The school was the scene of a deadly shooting in February, during which three students were killed and three others were injured.
In collaboration with staff from the Geauga County Board of Mental Health and Recovery Services, Ohio Sen. John Eklund, who represents Geauga County, the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation, the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities, as well as local provider organizations, ODMH and ODADAS are working to connect the Chardon Local School District with suicide prevention resources, as well as mental health and substance abuse services, creating a regional media campaign focusing on reducing the stigma of asking for help to cope with the aftermath of a traumatic event and utilizing Ohio’s youth networks to provide peer-to-peer support. These efforts are supported by Gov. John Kasich.
In a letter to the CEO of the Geauga County Board of Mental Health and Recovery Services, which serves the Chardon area, ODMH Director Tracy J. Plouck stated the importance of collaboration.
“The trauma of the Chardon shooting will have an impact on the affected students for the rest of their lives,” Director Plouck said. “Communication between the local board, the school district, and the state will be important moving forward to ensure that the needed expertise is available to help the community heal from this tragedy.”
If you are having thoughts of suicide, help is available by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.