MILWAUKEE COUNTY — If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, call the national Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK (8255) or text “Hopeline” to 741741.
As Suicide Prevention Week continues, there are sobering new numbers in Milwaukee County that show a drastic rise in the suicide rate.
The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner says there were three suicides in July, and the number increased to 23 in August. The current trend puts the county on track to surpass last year and quite possibly an all time record, says the Medical Examiner.
Dr. Ben Weston, the Medical Director for Milwaukee County. says the pandemic, social justice reform and more are contributing factors.
“This goes to show that mental heath is a major concern in our county, as with many counties which has been exacerbated by the COVID 19 pandemic” said Weston.
The Medical Examiner says there were 115 suicides in 2019, and so far in 2020, there have been 96. At the current rate, the Medical Examiner says there would be nearly 200 by the end of the year which would surpass the record of 156 in 2017.
Mental health advocate Terry McGuire hosts the “Giving Voice to Depression” podcast. After years of suffering from depression, she sought help from medical professionals and now hopes to help others.
“I do think it’s important to reach out to anyone you know and ask how are you doing? When they say fine ask again, and say really, are you really fine? And be willing to listen to the answer. A feeling of isolation, a feeling of not mattering, a feeling of not belonging, a feeling of not having worth, those are huge risk factors for being suicidal” says McGuire.