Suicides went up across Mid-Michigan

The National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline offers anonymous assistance and support without judgment. It can be reached 24/7 at 988.
(Arizona's Family)
Published: Dec. 19, 2022 at 6:28 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - A new report shows more people are dying by suicide across mid-Michigan.

The medical examiner’s office at Sparrow released its annual report for 2021 Monday. It shows Ingham County had 56 people taking their own life, up 17 from 2020.

Eaton County had 17 suicides last year, four more than the year before.

There were 15 suicides in Ionia County and 10 in Isabella County.

Shiawassee County had four suicides, which is fewer than in 2020.

There’s no one reason behind suicide. Advocates said it’s because you just never know who might be struggling before they make that decision.

“Even in the last few weeks, we’ve had three suicides in the community,” Jerry Norris, The Fledge CEO.

The Fledge is a community resource center in Lansing. It helps people who are struggling, with everything from food insecurity to substance abuse.

“What goes through my mind when I hear about it is ‘what could we have done differently? What could we have done better? Why didn’t we know?’” said Norris.

It’s a question Liz Baker was asking in 2014 when her friend Desmond took his own life.

“It completely turned my world upside down,” said Baker. “I just fell into a deep depression trying to figure out how you move on from something like a suicide.”

There isn’t one cause for suicide. But the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention said it often happens when someone is stressed and dealing with health issues that leave them feeling hopeless.

“Connection is the opposite of almost everything bad. Whether that’s suicide or substance use or even being unemployed,” said Norris.

Now there are resources are more available. The new 988 toll-free suicide helpline went live this summer. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said nearly 6,900 people called it the first month.

Norris said people shouldn’t wait to call. He added everyone could help prevent suicide by simply being kind.

“I think we need to consider it an option that more people are thinking of than not. I think we should err on the side this person might be suicidal,” said Norris.

You can find resources if you or someone is in crisis by calling 988 or reaching out to organizations like Community Mental Health and NAMI.

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