HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Gov. Tom Wolf’s Suicide Prevention Task Force released a preliminary report Tuesday, based on 10 statewide listening sessions over the fall last year.
The task force gathered information from almost 800 people.
“Suicide rates are at the highest levels they’ve been since WWII and those rates continue to climb. We lost 47,000 Americans in 2017. One is unacceptable, 47,000 is a national crisis,” said Rep. Michael Schlossberg (D) 132nd district.
Several key findings revolved around the stigma of mental health, which can impact the likelihood of someone getting help.
Another finding cited a lack of information access surrounding suicide in addition to barriers for treatment, including cost.
“Support educators and other adults working in schools with resources and training to identify. Support students who may be in crisis,” said Teresa Miller, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Secretary.
The report’s recommendations will be enacted in a four-year strategy plan, published in the coming months. Additional details and the cost of changes will be outlined with the strategy plan.
Certain occupations were discovered to be more at-risk than others, including those in the military, first responders, and farmers.
“With heavy workloads and long days and work in isolation, they live where they work,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said of the at-risk occupations.
Suicide rates have increased by 34% in Pennsylvania since 1999 according to the CDC.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicide, the National Suicide Prevention lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.