Ohio public health

Firearms most common method of suicide in Ohio, HPIO analysis finds

SuicideMethodsTrend_StandaloneGraphic_09.16.2022

Firearms are the most common method of suicide in Ohio, according to analysis from the Health Policy Institute of Ohio (as illustrated in the graphic above).

Between 2007 and 2021 (the most-recent year in which data is available), the rate of suicide deaths in Ohio that involved a firearm increased by more than 50%. In 2021, suicides involving a firearm accounted for more deaths than all other means combined.

Suicide is preventable and the state’s 2020-2022 Suicide Prevention Plan include evidence-informed strategies that both public- and private-sector leaders can implement to address the issue.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. If you or someone you know is experiencing emotional distress or a suicidal crisis, please call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 or the Trevor Project at 866-488-7386. If you don’t like talking on the phone, consider using the Crisis Text Line at www.crisistextline.org or text “4HOPE” to 741-741.


Graphic of the week

SuicideDisparities_StandAloneGraphic_04.14.2022
As national and state organizations mark September as Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, data show that while suicide deaths among young Ohioans have risen overall in Ohio over the past two decades, the increase has been sharpest among Black Ohioans.

In 1999, the suicide rates for both white Ohioans and Black Ohioans ages 10 to 24 were the same: 6.8 per 100,000 people. By 2020 (the most recent year for which data is available), the rate for white Ohioans had risen to 11.2 (an increase of 64%) and the rate for Black Ohioans had risen to 12.8 (an increase of 88%).

More-recent national research indicates that the disparity in suicide rates may have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Reducing suicide and eliminating disparities are priorities of the Ohio Department of Health’s 2020-2022 State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP). Public- and private-sector leaders can implement strategies identified in the SHIP and Ohio’s 2020-2022 Suicide Prevention Plan, including suicide fatality review boards, behavioral health integration with primary care and education on safe storage of lethal means (i.e., firearms and medications).

If you or someone you know is experiencing emotional distress or a suicidal crisis, please call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline; the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 or the Trevor Project at 866-488-7386. If you don’t like talking on the phone, consider using the Crisis Text Line at www.crisistextline.org or text “4HOPE” to 741-741.


Model predicts potential new wave of accidental drug overdoses

According to modelling from a Northwestern University researcher, the current rise in opioid deaths is not expected to slow anytime soon, and, in fact, may be a warning for one of the largest death waves due to opioids the country has seen to date, with Ohio potentially on the frontline once again (Source: “Model suggests coming wave of opioid deaths bigger than seen before,” Cleveland.com, Aug. 29).

Those who study opioid addiction refer to overdose deaths as coming in waves. And according to research published at the end of July, we may be headed for a tsunami.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control, Ohio ranked fourth in the rate of drug overdose mortality in 2020; 75% of those deaths were due to opioid overdose, the CDC found. The overwhelming majority of those — 82% — are synthetic opioids manufactured illicitly, rather than prescription drugs being re-sold on the street.

Lori Ann Post, who studies opioid abuse trends at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, said the goal of modeling is to get out in front of the problem because by the time all the toxicology reports come back and the data is input into the CDC databases, policymakers are a year behind; it’s too late by then to make the policy changes that are needed.

HPIO created the Addiction Evidence Project to provide policymakers and other stakeholders with the information needed to evaluate Ohio’s policy response to the opiate crisis and accelerate and continually improve strategies to address substance use disorders in a comprehensive, effective and efficient way.


Ohio infant mortality rates dropped in 2020, new ODH report finds

Ohio saw a slight dip in its infant mortality rate in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new 2020 data released by the Ohio Department of Health (Source: “State report: Ohio infant mortality rate 'lowest it has been in past decade',” Columbus Dispatch, Aug. 19).

According to the ODH report, there were 6.7 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2020, down from 6.9 the year prior. Black infants specifically saw a bigger decrease in that time frame, from 14.3 deaths per 1,000 births to 13.6, which is 2.7 times the rate of white infants. In total, 864 infants died before their first birthday in 2020.

The new infant mortality rate is "the lowest it has been in the past decade," according to the report, but it's still far above from the 2028 target of 6 or fewer deaths per 1,000 births for every racial group that was set out in the 2020-2022 State Health Improvement Plan.

"Racial and socio-economic inequities persist," the report acknowledged. "The infant mortality rate not only serves as a key indicator of maternal and infant health but is also an important measure of the health status of a community."


ODH releases monkeypox data dashboard

The Ohio Department of Health launched a monkeypox data dashboard Thursday, showing cases statewide and per county, and by age ranges, sex, hospitalizations, deaths and other information (Source: “Ohio Department of Health launches new monkeypox data dashboard and interactive map showing locations of all 147 cases,” Cleveland.com, Aug. 25).

ODH plans to update the dashboard each Thursday. Currently, there have been 147 confirmed cases across 19 counties. Cuyahoga County, with 69 cases, has the most, followed by Franklin County, which counts 33 cases. 

Just nine people have been hospitalized and no one has died with monkeypox in Ohio thus far.

The state’s first monkeypox case was reported June 13. Cases have increased in Ohio and across the country in the past few weeks.


Ohio’s life expectancy ranks near bottom in U.S.

New federal data released last week found life expectancy in Ohio is worse than 41 other states and is the lowest-ranked of the top 10 most populated U.S. states (Source: “Ohio's life expectancy among the worst in U.S.,” Axios-Columbus, Feb 17).

The average life expectancy at birth in Ohio is 76.9, according to 2019 state-by-state data released by the CDC last week. That is down about a full year since 2010. Ohio joins neighbors Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia in the low CDC rankings, along with most southeastern states.

The findings are consistent with those in HPIO’s 2021 Health Value Dashboard, which ranked Ohio 47th on health value, a composite measure of population health and health care spending. The Dashboard identified three key factors for Ohio’s low ranking: childhood adversity and trauma, systemic inequities and sparse spending on public health and prevention efforts.


COVID cases declining in Ohio, but still 'quite high,' ODH director says

COVID-19 hospitalizations and cases are continuing to decrease in Ohio after the record-setting omicron variant peaked in January (Source: “Ohio’s COVID hospitalizations, cases continue to decline but remain high,” Dayton Daily News, Feb. 10).

In the past three weeks, Ohio’s seen the number of COVID patients in the state’s hospitals and ICUs decrease by 50%.

“While I think we can all be very encouraged by the improving trends we’re seeing all across the state, let’s remember that our numbers in Ohio are really still quite high and we need to be careful not to let our guard down too soon,” said ODH Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff.

Despite the decrease in coronavirus cases, Ohio’s transmission rate is still nearly five times higher than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s definition of a high transmission rate. In the past two weeks, Ohio is averaging 481 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people. The CDC defines a high transmission rate as 100 cases or more per 100,000 people. None of the state’s 88 counties reported fewer than 100 COVID cases per 100,000 people.


ODH Director: ‘COVID-19 is not going away’

A record 1 in every 46 Ohioans was diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past two weeks, with the Ohio Department of Health's director saying the virus “will be a part of our health care landscape for the foreseeable future” (Source: “Record number of Ohioans contract COVID-19,” Youngstown Vindicator, Jan. 21).

Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, head of ODH, said Thursday despite “signs of improvement in some of Ohio’s first and hardest-hit areas of this historic and record-shattering surge of COVID-19 cases,” people shouldn’t “breathe such a sigh of relief that they think this is entirely over. We’re still dealing with this surge. COVID-19 is not going away.”

It was the sixth consecutive week that Ohio hit a record high number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents.


Ohio COVID deaths exceed 30k, hospitalizations remain at record levels

Ohio reached a grim milestone of more than 30,000 deaths related to COVID-19 since the pandemic began, as hospitalizations continue to set new records (Source: “COVID deaths in Ohio reach 30,000 across pandemic,” Hamilton Journal-News, Jan. 7).

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) added 398 deaths on Friday, bringing the total to 30,072.

COVID-19 hospitalizations were only slightly up Friday, but still set a record for the ninth consecutive day as the 21-day case average for the first time exceeded 15,000. COVID patients make up one-third of all hospitalizations across the state and represent one-third of all ICU patients.

There were 19,563 new coronavirus cases reported Friday, which brings the 21-day case average to 15,355, ODH reported.


ODH Director warns that COVID cases in Ohio are ‘very serious situation’

State health director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff again pleaded with Ohioans to get vaccinated for COVID-19 as cases and hospitalizations spike across the country (Source: “Ohio facing 'very serious situation' as COVID cases skyrocket, state's top doctor says,” Columbus Dispatch, Dec. 16).

According to the state COVID-19 dashboard, Ohio has reported more than 10,000 cases per day for the past three days. On Friday, Ohio also reported 395 new hospitalizations and 434 deaths.

The increase in cases has pushed hospitalizations near record-highs with 4,723 Ohioans with COVID hospitalized as of Thursday, according to the Ohio Hospital Association.

The 1,177 COVID-positive patients in Ohio's intensive care units are also approaching a pandemic record high, Vanderhoff said. Around 22% of COVID patients in an ICU are under the age of 50 and 13% are under the age of 40, Vanderhoff said.

"Simply put we're in a very serious situation but we have a powerful tool in vaccination that can strengthen our protection against severe cases of COVID-19," he said.