Alternative Paths, in collaboration with many community partners developed the Medina County Coalition for Suicide Prevention, meant to be a catalyst to bring about change in attitudes and perceptions regarding stigma related to suicide, mental illness, and addiction. Their focus is to become a resource to educate community residents of all ages on how to prevent suicide and support survivors after a death by suicide.
Annually, the Coalition sponsors two major events, an annual Youth Suicide Prevention Video/ Poster Contest and the Step Up to Prevent Suicide Community Walk.
The 2020 Poster Contest received submissions from middle school youth throughout Medina County. The winner was Jaiden Moore, a student at Wadsworth Middle School, whose poster is pictured.
Videos were submitted by high school students from across the county. The first place video was submitted by Katheryn Onderisin, Athena Towne, Cecelia Miller, Alexis Smith, and Alexis Furyes, students from Highland High School.
Second place winners included Katy Felix and Taryn Kenny, students from Highland High School.
Third place winners were Samantha Haas, Emily Smith, Devan Chorba, and Vincenzo Rini, students from Highland High School.
The videos can be viewed online by going to Youtube.com and searching “Medina County Suicide Prevention Coalition 2020”.
“The coalition wishes to recognize and congratulate our winners! We also would like to thank all students who submitted this year and encourage their ongoing efforts to help educate and create awareness on suicide prevention in Medina County,” said Gail Houk, director of forensic services at Alternative Paths in an email.
If you or someone you know is in need of help, please access the 24 Hour, Medina County Behavioral Health Helpline at (330) 725-9195.
In addition, the coalition offers the following important information:
HOW DO I KNOW IF SOMEONE IS SUICIDAL?
When people are thinking of ending their lives, they generally feel hopeless and experience great emotional pain. In many cases, the person is suffering from depression which is a very treatable illness. If you or someone you know exhibits several of the suicide warning signs listed below, immediate action is required.
- Talking or writing about death or suicide.
- Withdrawing from family, friends, and activities.
- Loss of interest in anything the person used to enjoy.
- Statements of hopelessness or worthlessness.
- Feeling strong anger or rage.
- Feeling trapped – like there is no way out of a situation.
- Abusing alcohol or drugs.
- Noticeable changes in eating or sleeping habits.
- Performing poorly at work or school.
- Exhibiting a change in personality.
- Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities – seemingly without thinking.
- Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life.
- The person has made a previous suicide attempt.
- The person is planning for suicide or making final plans much in the same way a terminally ill person would do, i.e. giving away prized possessions, writing a will, etc.
WHAT DO I DO IF I SUSPECT SOMEONE IS SUICIDAL?
- Take the person seriously. At least 75% of people give off warning signs ahead of time, hoping that someone will intervene.
- Listen to the problems the person is experiencing without being judgmental.
- Ask if they are having suicidal thoughts if you suspect that they are. A person can not talk someone into suicide by asking about suicidal thoughts. You are validating their feelings.
- Explore the possibilities of getting help. The suicidal person may be looking at life so narrowly, that they are no longer able to see alternatives and need someone else to point them out.
- Do not send the person to get help. Go with him or her. Do not leave the person alone.
- Remove any means of suicide, i.e. guns, knives, pills, etc.
- Realize that emergency rooms treat suicidal persons and that 911 is a logical tool if you need assistance.
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
- For immediate assistance, call 911.
- For local assistance, call Alternative Paths, Inc. at 330-725-9195.
- For assistance outside of Medina County, Ohio, contact The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org