Four people have died of suicide this year in Summit County, a sobering statistic but still a welcome improvement from the double-digit numbers that have marked past years. If the trend continues, 2017 could have the lowest number of suicide deaths in a decade.The major reduction comes on the heels of a concerted push by advocacy groups and local officials to combat mental illness and break down barriers to care. And while it's difficult to draw a causal link with such a small sample size, the numbers indicate Summit is moving in the right direction.
"I would say one suicide is too many, but any reduction in the number feels like a win," assistant Summit County manager and former Summit Community Care Clinic CEO Sarah Vaine said.
There were 13 suicide deaths in 2016, the highest number on record, eight in 2015 and 10 in 2014. The most recent year with fewer than four deaths was 2007, according to coroner's office statistics.