Stark County Health Dept releases findings of CDC student suicide investigation

Stark County, OH – The Stark County Health Department has released a report into the suicide risk and protective factors for Stark County Youth.

There were 12 suicides in the middle and high schools in Stark County between August of 2017 and March of 2018. The report says this was more than seven times the national rate and 11 times the rate seen in Stark County from 2011-2016.

After the major increase in student suicide the Stark County Health Department, the Ohio Department of Health asked for help from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate what factors were leading to the rapid increase.

Several county agencies began a school-based survey in which more than 15,000 students in grades 7-12 took a survey about connectedness, social media, mental health, life experiences, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts,  and resiliency.

The 56-page report focuses on how students feel and community groups plan to use it to create more prevention strategies.

More than 56% of participating students reported feeling lonely. The report found that 28.7% of students reported feeling hopeless. It says that 14% of students who have ever attempted suicide have access to a gun.

The report also found that the risk of suicide is significantly higher among young people who use social media for two hours or more each day.

According to a press release, summarizing the report it is meant to help school districts examine their own areas of growth and find issues unique to their student population.