Brown County Leaders Call Suicide Rates "Alarming"
Photo: Video by nbc26.com
GREEN BAY—The number of suicides in the U.S. now outnumbers the amount of people killed in car crashes. According to the CDC, suicide rates are on a sharp increase across the country. It’s a problem Brown County leaders have noticed here in the area, and an issue they are working to address.
In Brown County, a suicide prevention coalition was formed in 2007 after suicides peaked at 40 that year. Since then there have been more intervention and treatment programs in place. But county leaders say much more needs to be done to draw attention to the problem
Al Klimek is the Chief Medical Examiner for Brown County and he is working to address what he calls an alarming epidemic.
“Suicide rates are just going through the roof and it is primarily male and it’s primarily the ages between 35 and 45 and everybody looks for the reasons why and a lot of times there are just multiple reasons why,” Klimek said.
Those reasons include depression among men who may have lost their jobs in a down economy or had a relationship end. Experts say some of the men who become suicidal are upset because they are no longer the breadwinner for the family.
It’s a problem that hits men and women who are experiencing substance abuse problems in the county especially hard. Barbara Coniff is the director of Libertas Treatment Center in Green Bay. Coniff says while the center does treat suicidal patients. People entering the rehab center who are deemed as suicidal or at high risk to commit suicide are referred to a local hospital that specializes in suicide treatment.
Staff at Libertas is trained to notice the warning signs of suicidal people and get them the appropriate help. Coniff says suicide and prevention is a difficult topic for anyone, especially the loved ones of those who take their own lives. “Sometimes they feel that when they lose someone to an overdose or to a suicide that is a mark of shame and they could have done something about it,” Condiff said. “People need the ability to handle their grief in a respecting and caring way and I do think we have the opportunity to do more of that in our community," she said.