Suicide deaths increase by more than 30 percent in Pennsylvania

June 8, 2018 | By Chelsea Koerbler

The Centers for Disease Control releases alarming statistics on mental health. Death from suicide has risen by 34 percent since 1999 in Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, it’s not just Pennsylvania that saw an increase of deaths from suicide, almost every other state recorded an increase.

Suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. It’s also just one of three leading causes on the rise. Pennsylvania Mental Health Consumers’ Association executive director Lynn Keltz says, mental health should be treated the same way as physical health.

“We learn the signs of stroke and we learn what skin cancer looks like,” said Keltz. “We should also be learning what mental health is and what symptoms we can look for in ourselves as well as others.”

Keltz admits the warning signs of someone thinking about committing suicide aren’t always easy to see, varying person by person. Sometimes someone may isolate themselves, while other time they may become angry or have a personality change.

“It’s very individual and I think that’s why we miss it,” said Keltz. “But the bottom line is when we go for physical health checkups we should also be getting mental health checkups because if it became routine all of us would better recognize the symptoms in ourselves and others.”

Keltz believes talking about mental health and suicide will help erase the stigma associated with it. Through suffering with depression, she knows just what it takes to recover from a mental health illness. She hopes anyone suffering will search for help and find the right person to talk to.

“If the first person you talk to laughs at you or says, ‘Oh just get out of it, you just got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning,’ find another person because that’s not the only person,” said Keltz. “There are many more people who understand than who don’t understand.”

If you or someone you know needs help you can call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

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