St. Clair County C.A.R.E.S.

 Suicide has been called a “growing global health concern”[1] that claims nearly 1 million lives yearly worldwide.[2] Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., claiming over 44,000 lives annually.[3] In the State of Illinois, suicide fluctuates between the 11th and 12th leading cause of death overall,[4] but for youth ages 10-14, suicide is the leading cause of death and the third leading cause of death for those 15-24.[5] In the 11 years from 2006-16, there were approximately 280 suicide deaths in St. Clair County (IL). This equates to thousands of lives touched in a single decade. Think of the  families, countless other loved ones, friends, classmates, co-workers, and acquaintances who are left behind. 

Countless suicide awareness and prevention efforts exist; “yet numbers fail to consistently decline.”[6] Some even questioning the effectiveness of such efforts. Suicide is a complex issue requiring a multifaceted approach to awareness, prevention, and intervention endeavors.

Several significant components hold a great deal of promise in reducing deaths by suicide.  

  • Increasing physician knowledge regarding psychiatric illnesses and suicide

  • Reducing or eliminating lethal means

  • Involvement on numerous levels by those deemed gatekeepers[7]

Several things we know:

  • Suicide affects nearly every demographic

  • Suicide leaves a lasting impact on those left behind

  • Suicide IS preventable

It is my hope, that through this research, we continue to work with organizations focused on awareness, prevention, and intervention efforts. In addition, we hope to reach those affected in some way by suicide through educational efforts and community support. Lastly, we want to partner with local gatekeepers in assisting our efforts and understanding that Community Awareness Raises Emotional Support™.



[1] World Health Organization. (1996). Prevention of suicide: guidelines for the formulation and implementation of national strategies. Geneva: Switzerland.

[2] Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Suicide: Facts at a glance. Retrieved December 20,  2017, from:

[3] American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. (n.d.). Suicide statistics. Retrieved December 21, 2017, from:

[4] American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. (2017). Suicide: Illinois 2017 facts & figures. Retrieved December 21, 2017, from:

[5] Ibid.

[6] Johnson, O. (2017). Suicide in St. Clair County, Illinois – 2006-16: Recommendations and strategies towards improved awareness, prevention, and intervention measures. Behavioral Health, 5(1).

[7] Mann, D.E., Apter, A., Bertolote, J., Beautrais, A., Currier, D., Haas, A.,  … Hendin, H. (2005). Suicide prevention strategies: A systematic review. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 294(16), 2064-74. Doi: 0.1001/jama.294.16.2064 

Suicide in St. Clair County, Illinois - 2006-16:
Recommendations and Strategies towards Improved Awareness, Prevention, and Intervention Measures
Olivia Johnson, DM


Suicide is a significant public health concern affecting virtually every demographic. Case files from the St. Clair County, Illinois, Coroner’s Office classified as suicide between 2006-16 were examined. The data will assist in developing future prevention measures specific for at-risk populations within St. Clair County. Despite countless efforts towards suicide awareness on both state and national levels, suicide rates have failed to decline. More attention must be placed on prevention efforts and more state and federal monies must be allocated to address this serious and growing health concern. Community involvement is essential on numerous levels to confront the multifaceted nature of suicide.


Keywords: Illinois, mental health, St. Clair County, suicide, suicide prevention

To Read Full Article