Breakout sessions covered a variety of topics including cognitive changes in people as they age, the impact hoarding can have on others, human trafficking of older adults, drug use in seniors and suicide prevention.

An event at the Boardman Holiday Inn focused on protecting the aging population from abuse and exploitation.

The event was put on by Direction Home of Eastern Ohio and featured speakers from a variety of organizations including Summa Health, Youngstown State University, Meridian Healthcare and the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation.

Breakout sessions covered a variety of topics including cognitive changes in people as they age, the impact hoarding can have on others, human trafficking of older adults, drug use in seniors and suicide prevention.

“There are so many individuals who never come forward and say that they’ve been financially, physically or sexually abused,” Cassandra Valentini, Communications Director for Direction Home of Eastern Ohio, said. “We’re really trying with this conference to hit all those different topics and educate our local community to make sure that we have folks out there who can address these concerns as they’re brought to our attention.”

Advocates also highlighted the warning signs and best practices to help out loved ones as they age.

June is Men’s Health Month

Stephanie Beougher

Communications Director

Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation (OSPF)

614.429.1528 ext. 113

Ohio, June 5, 2024 – June is Men’s Health Month. It’s an important time to shine a light on mental health, which can be a tough subject for some men to tackle. Man Therapy Ohio, a free men’s mental health resource website found at, today released three common myths to address the stigma around men’s mental health.

Myth #1

Men can fix their own problems.

Fact: Men are the ultimate boot-strappers. So, it’s only natural that many of them believe they can fix their emotional, behavioral and mental problems themselves. Trying to fix mental disorders like depression and anxiety without professional assistance is like trying to heal a broken femur without a surgeon.

Myth #2

Men should keep their feelings to themselves.

Fact: Just because this myth has been instilled in male culture since the Jurassic Period, doesn’t make it true. It’s very important for guys to talk about their feelings, because keeping them bottled up only makes them worse. It’s time men start sharing their feelings with their friends and family members.

Myth #3

Asking for help is not manly.

Fact: Reaching out for professional support isn’t a weakness; it’s a sign of strength. Therapy isn’t just for people who are depressed or struggling with addiction. Therapy is for anyone who can use someone to talk to besides friends, family members or coworkers.

You can find additional resources for men, as well as support for those looking to help the men in their lives with mental health, on the Man Therapy Ohio website:

Man Therapy is being promoted throughout Ohio as a website for men. Once on the website, you might be invited to participate in a voluntary, and paid, survey project.

Man Therapy Ohio does not provide crisis response or clinical services. If you are concerned and think you or a loved one may need immediate help, please go to your local emergency department or call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by dialing “988” for 24/7, free and confidential support.

Date: June 06, 2024 

By: Brandon J. Johnson, MHS, MCHES, Chief, Suicide Prevention Branch, Center for Mental Health Services and Katie W. Deal, MPH, Public Health Advisor, Suicide Prevention Branch, Center for Mental Health Services

In the United States, someone dies by suicide every 11 minutes; the rates of suicidal behaviors have risen over the past decade; and disparities in suicide rates among certain populations are growing (PDF | 13.4 MB). There also is concern about suicide trends amid the ongoing mental health and overdose crises and on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic, in which many people experienced loss, social isolation, behavioral health problems, and inequities in health care resources, education, housing, and other suicide risk factors.

The good news is that we have made great strides to strengthen suicide prevention infrastructure, capacity, and practice in the United States since former Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher recognized suicide as a significant public health problem (1.3 MB) 25 years ago. Individuals and organizations have worked tirelessly to raise awareness about suicide; collect and analyze suicide-related data; develop partnerships and strategic plans; expand and train the workforce; develop and implement policies and programs; and conduct research and evaluation to help us understand what works, or is likely to work, to prevent suicide.

Yet despite this progress, Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy notes in the 2024 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention (National Strategy) that “much work remains to promote a coordinated and comprehensive approach to suicide prevention in communities across the country and at every level of government.”

Our Nation’s Plan to Prevent Suicide

On April 23, 2024, the Biden-Harris Administration released the National Strategy and first-ever Federal Action Plan (PDF | 8.3 MB) to guide our efforts over the next decade. This strategy calls on all of us to:

Reflecting current data, emerging issues, and advances in the field, the National Strategy addresses 1) community-based suicide prevention; 2) treatment and crisis services; 3) surveillance, quality improvement, and research; and, for the first time, 4) health equity and suicide prevention. Other new areas highlighted in the strategy include an expanded focus on social determinants of health, the intersection of suicide and substance use, the impact of social media on youth, and the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (988).

The strategy recognizes that suicide’s complexity requires approaches that address multiple risk and protective factors at many levels of influence (PDF | 13.4 MB)—such as intergenerational trauma, financial loss or instability, social connectedness, effective coping skills, lethal means safety, and equitable access to behavioral health care. The strategy also calls for the engagement of people impacted by and at risk of suicide in prevention efforts, whose experience brings vital perspective to this work.

Turning Strategy into Action

Realizing the full vision of the National Strategy, particularly for populations most affected by suicide, will require a coordinated, comprehensive, and sustained effort by many partners. Guiding federal agencies’ efforts is a Federal Action Plan (PDF | 8.3 MB) with over 200 priority actions to be implemented, monitored, and evaluated. Examples of SAMHSA’s actions for the next three years include:

This new strategy is here to help all of us address the complex and heartbreaking issue of suicide. We invite you—whether you are part of a federal agency or national organizationSAMHSA suicide prevention grantsuicide prevention coalition, or other group—to identify how you can use the strategy to prevent suicide and promote mental wellbeing in your sphere of influence.

Some ideas of actions you can take include:

Everyone has a role to play in suicide prevention. Let’s care, connect, and collaborate together to save lives. And remember, if you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, a mental health or substance use crisis, or emotional distress, contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline via phone (dial 988), chat (here), or text (send a text to 988). The Lifeline is confidential, available 24/7, and staffed by trained counselors across the country. It also has specially trained counselors for Veterans, LGBTQI+ youth and young adults, and Spanish speakers.

Colin Gay, Columbus Dispatch

For Kirk Herbstreit, Ohio State football was his “everything.” 

A former five-star quarterback out of Centerville and a Buckeye legacy, Herbstreit remembers how others expected him to start for four years and win multiple Rose Bowls. 

But during an appearance on “The Mental Game Podcast,” Herbstreit, who is now a college football analyst for ESPN, admitted he had difficulty adapting to Ohio State as a freshman, and it was something that nearly led him to quitting football. However, he said the football team’s psychiatrist Alfred Ferrante helped turn Herbstreit’s mindset around. 

“Man, I struggled. I just could not deal with it,” Herbstreit said. “I had a really hard time adapting to it. I moved to defensive back, I was covering kickoffs and then I circled back to quarterback my last three years. And I was just at the end of the road. I was ready to quit.

“There was no NIL. There was no transfer portal. I was just ready to go play baseball and be done with football. And my dad was like, ‘Give it another spring.’ And then I ended up going to see this doctor. And I’m telling you, the courage it took in 1990-91 to go into his office, which was at Ohio Stadium – they gave him a little nook – I’ll never forget walking from my apartment, looking around my shoulder the entire time wondering if anybody saw me, knocking on his door and, even then, still kind of looking.

“Isn’t it crazy that you’re so afraid? I was like 20, 21 years old and I didn’t want people to make fun of me, just to be honest. I didn’t want people to think I was weak because of the way we were trained. But at least I had the courage to knock on his door.” 

Herbstreit said he didn’t know what to talk to the psychiatrist about initially, but that the first hour-long meeting was “incredible” and something that continued for the rest of his college career. 

“I really give him a lot of credit because I was (at) rock bottom to the point I wanted to quit all the way to the point where by the time I was a senior I was team MVP, I was voted most inspirational player, team captain,” Herbstreit said. 

“I wasn’t an All-American. I didn’t win a Heisman. The fact (is) … I was just a hard-working guy that came in with high expectations, hit the bottom of the roster and got back up to the top. Without him, without him listening and talking to me and helping me, I’m very doubtful I would have been able to do that.” 

Herbstreit became Ohio State’s starting quarterback in 1992. He led the Buckeyes to an 8-3-1 record and finished the season with a Citrus Bowl loss to Georgia. Herbstreit had 1,904 passing yards, four touchdowns and six interceptions.

By: Cincy Lifestyle Staff

In times of emotional distress, you now have a lifeline: 988.

Crisis looks very different from one person to the next. That’s why the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline of Ohio encourage any Ohioan who is experiencing a mental health or addiction crisis — or their family members — to call, text, or chat the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline to reach a trained specialist who can offer help and support. After connecting, those reaching out for help will be greeted by a warm, friendly, compassionate counselor who stands ready to listen and provide support.

For more information, visit
If you or someone you know needs support now, call, text or chat the 988 Lifeline.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – As suicide rates rise, particularly among older white men, the Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board is calling on employers and other gatekeepers to question, persuade and refer.

“We’re having more suicides than ever,” says Duane Piccirilli, executive director of the Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Board. “It’s spiking.”

The numbers are increasing for white men over 60, too, he says.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. People who are considering suicide or who are experiencing a similar crisis should call or text 988, the Suicide & Crisis lifeline or chat at

The county  mental health board is offering free QPR – Question Persuade Refer – training. The training through the QPR Institute educates people to question individuals about suicide, persuade them to get help and refer them to the appropriate resource.

“We’re hoping businesses will take the 90 minutes and train their staff,” he says.

To schedule a training or to get more information, employers may contact the Coalition for Drug-Free Mahoning County at 330-771-7732.

“With this, they have the right questions to ask and to persuade … and where to refer, which would be 988,” Piccirilli says.

Mercer County, Pa., also offers QPR training, says Anna Shears, program analyst for the Mercer County Behavioral Health Commission and chairwoman of the Mercer County Suicide Prevention Network. That network involves several organizations.

“There are many agencies involved,” Shears says. “We  partner with as many people and organizations as we can. We have representatives from schools, colleges in the area, local inpatient units, crisis units, outpatient mental health clinics, churches, the VA. We have many partners and we’re always looking to have more partners.”


In the first quarter of this year, 14 people in Mahoning County committed suicide. Last year, 53 people died by suicide. It was 44 in 2022 and 41 in 2021.

The number of men who commit suicide is traditionally higher than the number of women. But the number of older white men who commit suicide is rising.

“We’ve doubled from where we were last year,” says Lee DeVita, program coordinator at the Mahoning County MHRB.

In the first quarter, 10 men committed suicide and four of them were at least 60. In 2023, 46 men killed themselves and 16 were 60 or older. The numbers that year also included two women older than 80.

In 2022, 37 men committed suicide and 11 of them were at least 60. Of the 34 men who committed suicide in 2021, seven were 60 or older. In all years, most of them are White.

Across Ohio, people 34 to 65 comprise the largest segment who commit suicide.

In Mercer County last year, 10 people committed suicide. That was up from nine the previous year. In 2021, there were 11.

Shears says the number of older white men has increased, “but I can’t say it spiked.” Last year, six people – men and women – ages 55 to 64 committed suicide. “That’s on the higher end,” she says.

The director of clinical services at the Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board, Katie Cretella, says that nationally, the number of middle-aged white men who commit suicide historically has been higher.

Last year in Trumbull, 32 people committed suicide of  whom 23 were men. Of the suicide total, 12 were 55 or older and two were at least 75.

For 2022 in Trumbull County, 26 people committed suicide; 20 were men and 14 were 55 or older. In 2021, the total was 16 and 11 of them were at least 55; 13 were men.

In Columbiana County, the number of suicides was 11 in both 2023 and 2022, down from 22 in 2021.

The executive director of the Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Board, Marcy Patton, says there’s been an uptick the last few years in the number of older White men who commit suicide. Most involve firearms.


Patton says Columbiana County has gunlock distributions as one initiative. It also promotes 988. Even with state and national campaigns and with the many athletes and celebrities talking about the importance of mental health, she says, many men won’t seek treatment.

That may be even more so in a rural community where men grow up believing they need to be the strong ones and take care of their own.

Columbiana County is promoting a state campaign called Man Therapy that relies on humor. The website,, lists topics with videos and resources where visitors may seek help and information. The board also started outreach at high school football games. They pass out 988 cards and have moments of silence and information in the announcements to share knowledge in a nonthreatening way.

The Mahoning County Mental Health & Recovery Board has formed a coalition with Direction Home, formerly the Area Agency on Aging, and Mahoning County Public Health to address the rising suicide rates.

“The big thing with this is mental health care is health care,” Piccirilli says.

The board is trying to determine what is causing the increase.

“We have a suicide fatality review committee that meets,” DeVita says, and it includes MCMHRB, the Mahoning County sheriff’s department, health district and coroner’s office. “We meet to kind of identify if there’s trends and things that are going on that we can pinpoint and use for the prevention end of it.”

Members meet quarterly to review coroner’s reports and other information to detect trends.

“One of the things we learned years ago is that most people go to their primary care physicians about six weeks before they attempt suicide,” Piccirilli says. “That has made the medical community across the country start to do depression screenings.”

Women will go in and say they’re depressed,” he says. “Men will go in with ailments.”

Mahoning County and its juvenile court worked together to establish it as a trauma-informed community.

“One of the golden rules of trauma-informed care is you ask what’s happened to them, not what’s wrong with them,” Piccirilli says.

In 2023, 12 people 70 or older committed suicide in Mahoning County. DeVita calls that alarming.

“Some of it is chronic health issues, issues with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Maybe some of them it’s money issues or loss of a spouse or loved one,” DeVita says. “They just feel like they’re no longer needed or they don’t have a sense of purpose.”

Cretella says Trumbull uses multiple campaigns to address suicide. To address an increase a few years ago in youth suicide, the recovery board launched a contest for young people to create public service announcements. The first year, promotion of 988 was a requirement for entries.

The Trumbull board also promotes 988, distributing items like pens, cards and brochures with the information. In a recent campaign, the board worked with area coffee shops to have information directing people to its website on coffee sleeves.

To address suicide among Black males, the board worked with barber shops, providing capes and mirror clings with the message, “Life is Better with You In it.”

In Mercer, the prevention network began an initiative last year to work with food banks and with agencies that deliver food to older people. They include postcards with the food boxes, providing a number for people to call if they’re feeling depressed or lonely.


Nationally, more women attempt suicide. But more men succeed, the mental health professionals say. Men tend to use more lethal means. But every attempt must be taken seriously, Piccirilli says.

People should watch for warning signs: personality changes, giving away prized possessions, talking about death and making it seem normal.

Someone talking about how he won’t always be here is a sign. “People shouldn’t be dwelling on death,” Piccirilli says.

If that’s happening, a loved one or an employer should have a frank conversation with the individual and ask if he’s thinking of harming himself. It’s OK to have that conversation, DeVita and Piccirilli say. If the person is acting on plans for self harm, 911 should be called.

The pandemic created the perfect storm for depression, the MCMHRB says. People in support groups were limited to online versions if anything at all. People were isolated and experiencing anxiety.

“They say if you see something, say something,” he says. “This is that kind of thing.”

Although the statistics report a higher incidence of suicide among older White men, people should be watchful of employees or loved ones regardless of demographics.

“Suicide can be contagious,” Piccirilli says. If someone hears about suicide or knows someone who has done it, they may decide to follow.

By partnering with Direction Home, the recovery board hopes to reach retired people who need help.

The recovery board recently earned a grant from the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation to train two individuals for survivors of suicide loss groups.

The statistics also include suicide by veterans. They may be triggered by scenes of wars across the globe that they see on television, the mental health professionals say.

This month, a speaker will talk about the QPR training for first responders. The session is offered through the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation.

Law enforcement officers and firefighters also experiences high suicide rates. From 2017 through 2022, 53 of Ohio’s first responders died by suicide, according to the Ohio Department of Public Safety. Nationally, 1,242 first responders died by suicide. And the numbers are believed to be underreported for that of first responders.

“This is too big of a problem for us to deal with ourselves,” Piccirilli says. “I think everybody has to be gatekeepers.”

The CDC says the agriculture industry has the fourth highest suicide rate. Ty Higgins, the Ohio Farm Bureau spokesperson, said this is from stigmas and stress.

OHIO, USA —May is Mental Health Awareness Month and Tony Coder, the executive director of the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation, said this is a good time for awareness and for people to check in on loved ones.

“We lose five people a day to suicide in the state of Ohio,” Coder said.

Suicide risk is higher in certain population groups, according to Coder. He said members of the LGBTQ+ community, veterans and farmers are all at higher risk.

“Agriculture has one of the highest suicide rates of any industry in the country,” Ty Higgins, spokesperson for the Ohio Farm Bureau said. “That has been a long-standing statistic for years and it’s something we really need to get in front of.”

Higgins said the stigma surrounding mental health in the agriculture industry makes this a harder conversation to start having.

“I think farmers seem themselves as strong and resilient, and they are,” Higgins said. “But they very rarely want to show a sign of what they consider weakness. And I consider it a strength to talk about your mental health and what’s stressing you out on a farm.”

Higgins said the stress that farmers experience in the industry can lead to anxiety, depression or suicide.

“We don’t always have a certain amount of time to get the crop in the ground and prepare it,” Landon Smith, farm manager at Rohrs Farms said. “Sometimes there’s challenging moments with equipment breaking or the weather setting us back.”

Concerns over farmers’ mental health are why the Ohio Agriculture Mental Health Alliance was formed, Higgins said. Some of the partners include the Ohio Farm Bureau and the Ohio Department of Agriculture. 

Higgins said there’s not a lot of data out there regarding farmers’ mental health, so the alliance is working to figure out what stressors are, how farmers are dealing with them and what resources are available. There is a survey farmers can fill out to help the alliance know what needs they see.

Coder said it can start with asking friends how they are doing. He said over the past five years as executive director, he’s been to a lot of funerals.

“Not one time have I ever heard at one of those funerals that I did too much,” Coder said.

Coder also said people can use resources on the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services website.

One of those resources is dedicated to just men. Coder said 80% of the suicides in Ohio are men between the ages of 35 and 65. He said one reason for this is the stigmas attached to mental health.

Man Therapy is a statewide campaign dedicated to targeting men’s mental health. It includes videos and activities people can do at their own pace.

Another resource both Coder and Higgins mentioned is the Suicide and Crisis Prevention Hotline. The number is 988 and will connect people with local resources, or assist them in helping a friend or family member through a situation.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — May is Mental Health Awareness Month and advocates say it’s a time to shine a light on the resources available and that it is okay to ask for help.

The Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation said mental health impacts all kinds of people and a problem might not be visible.

“There is hope, there is help,” said Molly Mottram, the Associate Director of the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation. 

She said May is a time to have important conversations about mental health.

“I think what’s really important is that mental health, it can impact anybody no matter what your race, gender or background is,” Mottram said. “And so having a month, an entire month dedicated to having these really important conversations just allows us to kind of break down barriers around stigma, around mental health, because there’s still a lot of stigma associated.”

Mottram said on average five people in Ohio die by suicide every day.

OSPF has people across the state training others how to identify warning signs. She said their goal is to connect people struggling with the services that will best help their needs. 

She said one of the most convenient is the suicide call and text hotline at 988.

“They’re a trained counselor for the 988 line and they’re going to walk through what, you know, even if it’s, even if you’re having a just a bad day and you need somebody to talk to, that person’s on the other line to kind of talk you through that bad day,” Mottram said.

She said as of the end of 2023, the hotline received between 10,000 and 12,000 calls and texts a month in Ohio.

“So, that means people are using the hotline,” Mottram said. “It means that people know that there’s a resource available, but there’s still work to be done. We’re here to help. And this is at the end of the day, it’s hope work. And we just want people to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. And May is a great month to be able to highlight having these important conversations.”

OSPF said from 2020 to 2022, more than 17,000 people in Ohio were trained in recognizing signs of suicidal thoughts and how best to respond.

If you or someone you know is struggling you can call or text 988. You can also call OSPF at 614-429-1528 to be connected with more resources.