This past Sunday I attended the 11th annual Cincinnati Out of Darkness Community Walk. It was put on by the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention Cincinnati Chaper. The walk was in memory of loved ones that had committed suicide, to raise funds for suicide prevention, to raise public awareness about suicide, to erase the stigma attached to suicide, and ultimatley to save lives by preventing suicides. It was a heartfelt event led and directed by the walk coordinator Sara Danks. Sara is a committed and special young women that I admire immensely.
I really did not walk as some attorney representative. I just happen to know that a lot of attorneys are commiting suicide. So much so, that the Cincinnati Bar Association recently started a Health and Wellnesss Committee in response to the suicide of a prominent lawyer in Cincinnati. So much so, that it was reported in 2013 that in Kentucky over a dozen lawyers had comitted suicide over the last three year as of June 2013
The statistics concerning lawyers and depression are staggering. Studies show that lawyers are six times more likely to kill themselves than the rest of the population. In 2012, suicide became the third leading cause of death among attorneys, after cancer and heart disease. A widely cited Johns Hopkins study of 104 professions found that lawyers were the most likely to suffer from major depression. One in four struggle with feelings of inadequacy, inferiority, or anxiety. Sourced from Medical Daily And yet I did not recognize any lawyers at the walk. Maybe I just did not notice them.
It did appear that many of the over 2000 walkers were there because their life had been touched by suicide. I know mine has. But woudn't it be great if people, who have never been touched by this mental heath illness, were out there at the walk. (Truth be told that category might be small) Maybe next year one of the many lawyer associations in Ohio, especially the Cincinnati Bar Association could form a team to walk or be a sponsor. Your heart will be moved. Your consciouness will be raised. You will be changed somehow for the better. I know I was.
Of course this walk was not about lawyers. Suicide crosses all walks of life. The Statisctics on Suicide are staggering. It is a national epidemic. It is the only one of the top ten leading causes of death that is on the rise. In 2012, 40,600 suicides were reported by the CDC. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for persons 15-24, accounting for 20% of the suicide deaths annually. You do not need to be a deep researcher to know that depression is a big risk for a suicide. But some people die at there own hand and many do not have a clue that the person was a suicide risk. Much can be done to educate and help prevent suicide and this walk is a shining example.
A report issued in the spring of 2010 estimated that 18 veterans die by suicide every day. The same report found that as many as 950 suicide attempts each month occur among veterans receiving services through the Veterans Administration (VA). The rate is lower, however, among veterans aged 19-29 who are receiving services when compared to those who are not currently receiving care through the VA.
While officials speculate that a better screening and reporting system may be a factor in the increase, it is also likely that repeated deployments during the extended conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are a part of the equation.. Source National Alliance on Mental Illness.
So they came from all over the city and country to walk in Cincinnati down at Sawyer point this past Sunday for suicide prevention. If you would have been there you would have seen people that did not want to be there, but were glad they found a family that they could relate to. Several hundred volunteers turned out to help. Over $88,000.00 was raised for suicide prevention. This money is being put to great use. One program called ISP has been implemented at Xavier University. http://www.afsp.org/the-interactive-screening-program This program allows persons of a given institution to interact anonymously with a counselor to help them in their darkest hour . A representative from Xavier University spoke as to how this was the greatest gift he had received.
So much is being done . Suicide is coming ouy of the darkness and into the light. As the stigma gets erased, hopefully even more resources will be developed and utilized to intervene to prevent this epidemic and turn the tide. So much hurt and suffering could be alleviated. Please come walk with us next October.
By Anthony Castelli
8170 Corproate Park Drive #220
Cincinnati, ohio 45242