Suicide rates in U.P. at epidemic high

HOUGHTON — A new group in the Copper Country is looking at what can be done about the Suicide Epidemic in the U.P.

Suicide, it’s no longer a problem that can be addressed in whispers. Nine of the Upper Peninsula’s 15 counties rank in the top half of suicide rates in the state.

Michigan has 83 counties, that’s quite an unbalanced representation. Ontonagon County currently has the highest rate in Michigan with the top three counties, including Schoolcraft and Iron Counties, twice as high as the state’s overall suicide rate. So what can be down about it?

The Houghton and Keweenaw County Suicide Prevention Coalition is a new group that is looking to work with other organizations to stop this widespread crisis throughout the U.P.

Mayworm said, “Just like anything else that’s kind of awkward to talk about, I think the more we talk about it, the more it’s going to be accepted. That’s key to reducing suicide rates. Giving those who have suicidal thoughts the understanding that we’re here to help, it’s not that you have some terrible disease we don’t even want to talk to you about.”

The group is being funded through a grant from the Superior Health Foundation, and they are working closely with Dial Help and other suicide prevention services.

Mayworm said, “Anybody who’s been touched by suicide, I think they’re key, to bring their voice into the group, and then I want us to build our vision and mission statements. I want us to put down our goals—What do we see, what’s the next step?”
The coalition will meet again on June 1st and they are looking for interested community partners.