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Suicide rates high in Wayne and Pike

But resources are there to help

By SHANNON DEVUYST
Posted 9/7/21

According to recent research sponsored by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania on suicide rates across Pennsylvania counties, Wayne and Pike are both above the statewide average of 15.7 suicides per …

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My view

Suicide rates high in Wayne and Pike

But resources are there to help

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According to recent research sponsored by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania on suicide rates across Pennsylvania counties, Wayne and Pike are both above the statewide average of 15.7 suicides per 100,000 residents. Pike’s rate is 25 per 100,000. Wayne County’s rate is 31.2.

Statistics provided by Carbon, Monroe, Pike Mental Health and Development Services (CMP), indicate that in 2020, there were 11 suicides in Pike alone. This was an increase of six deaths over the previous year.

September is Suicide Prevention Month, a time when health organizations raise awareness and help people to understand issues related to suicide and mental health. This helps to reduce the stigma associated with this topic, and to spread hope to those whose lives have been affected by suicide.

Suicide is a widespread issue. For every lost life, there are 147 individuals affected, according to 2019 national statistics. It is important to understand that there is no typical suicide victim. Checking up on loved ones is essential. Knowing how to offer support and provide access to prevention resources may help save a life.

“We need to make sure that individuals who need help know how and where they can access services,” said Commissioner Matthew Osterberg.  “Whether it involves making resources more readily available or implementing prevention programming, our local organizations are working to address this issue.”

Suicide prevention events in Pike County

Carbon, Monroe, Pike Mental Health and Development Services (CMP) will host several suicide prevention and mental health awareness events during September.

The documentary “My Ascension” will be screened on Tuesday, September 30, at 6:30 p.m. at the Pike County Training Center in Hawley. The film follows a young woman after a suicide attempt that left her paralyzed. She used her experiences to bring attention to suicide prevention and mental health awareness by creating programs to help others going through similar experiences. Following the screening, there will be a panel consisting of professionals and community partners to discuss suicide prevention efforts and mental health resources. The event is free but registration is required. For more information call Larissa Kimmel at 570/350-0585.

CMP will also be holding a Make and Take Care Night. The event will consist of a night out where individuals can learn new ways to relieve stress while connecting with others. CMP reminds individuals that self-care and taking time to destress and unwind can have significant effects on overall wellbeing. Larissa Kimmel, Systems of Care Coordinator at CMP, says, “Suicide prevention is not just about hearing loss stories. Suicide prevention begins with taking a proactive approach by creating positive coping skills.”

To register for the Make and Take Care Night contact Larissa.kimmel@cmpsystemsofcare.org. It takes place in Dingmans Ferry, Pike County, on Saturday, September 18 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Akenak Park.  

In addition, the Wayne/Pike Northeast Suicide Prevention Initiative (NSPI) will be having a Suicide Prevention & Remembrance Walk at Wallenpaupack Area High School in Hawley. Registration opens at 10 a.m. and programs begin at 11 a.m. The prevention and remembrance walk will commence directly following the program. A $10 donation is requested. There will be a resource table, entertainment, refreshments, giveaways and a basket raffle. Please direct any questions to John Nebzydoski 570/253-9200 or jnebzydoski@waynecountypa.gov.

New Perspectives

Another local service is the New Perspectives Crisis Residence, provided by Resources for Human Development. It is a short-term residential program that provides supervised mental health stabilization services as an alternative to psychiatric hospitalization. The service is available to adults in Carbon, Monroe and Pike Counties. For more information visit rhd.org.

Shannon DeVuyst is the Communications Coordinator in the Pike County Commissioners Office. A recent graduate of the University of Vermont, she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing, a global business theme, and Psychological Science minor.

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