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We are pleased to bring you this second edition of the Fast Facts. This is a brief report on local data that we believe you will find useful in both understanding and improving the health of our community. Our goal is to keep it brief and instructive and to provide opportunities for all persons to positively impact the issue. 

Our topic this time is suicide. Special thanks to Colleen Carpenter for compiling this report. We hope you find it helpful. Please feel free to forward to colleagues, board members and others in the community.
This is National Suicide Prevention Week. In the United States, someone dies every 14 minutes from suicide making it the 10th leading cause of death nationally. On average, 40 Allen County residents take their own lives each year. Locally and nationally, suicide rates are highest for whtie men (17.2 suicide deaths per 100,000 people) and lowest for black women (1.9 suicide deaths per 100,000 people).
Suicide is in the top three leading causes of death for teenagers and young adults. 90% of those who take their own lives have a diagnosable and treatable mental health disorder, substance abuse disorder, or both. 

Suicide attempts are more prevalent than suicide deaths. Every 34 seconds someone attempts suicide (but lives) in the U.S. In Indiana, one in six high school youth report having seriously considered suicide one or more times in the past year and one in nine report attempting suicide. Women and girls attempt suicide three times more often than boys/men.


All Suicide Deaths in Allen County 


2012 (N=39)2011 (N =44)
Jan thru JulyJan thru December
Age range14 - 79 years15 to 91 years
Mean age46 years46 years
Female3 (8%)4 (9%)
Male36 (92%)40 (91%)
Caucasian35 (90%)41 (93%)
African American3 (8%)2 (5%)
Hispanic 1 (3%)1 (2%)
County of residence
Allen26 (67%)29 (66%)
Other8 (21%)15 (34%)
Unknown5 (13%)0 (0%)


Suicide Deaths in Persons under Age 30 years in Allen County 


2012 (N=12)2011 (N=10)
Jan thru JulyJan thru December
Age range14 to 26 years15 to 30 years
Mean age21 years23 years
Female01 (10%)
Male12 (100%)9 (90%)
Caucasian10 (83%)10 (100%)
African American2 (17%)0 (0%)
Hispanic 0 (0%)0 (0%)




Nationally, the annual economic cost of suicidal behavior is estimated to be in the billions of dollars. The impact of suicide includes the years of potential lives lost from suicide deaths, the devastating effects of bereavement by suicide, and the medical and mental health costs associated with suicide attempts. From 2003-2005, suicide attempt-related behavior in Indiana cost $74.8 million dollars.

The loss of a loved one to suicide death is incredibly traumatic and life-changing, and the grief process is complicated because there is stigma, shame and silence associated with suicide. Those who lose a loved one to suicide are at higher risk of dying by suicide as well, thus support to those "survivors" can be seen as suicide prevention.

Those who attempt suicide but live are at increased risk of dying by suicide. Mental health treatment is important to help the person work through the issues that spurred the suicide attempt and to develop coping skills.

What Can I Do?

As a healthcare provider: 

As a parent:   

  • Take all warning signs seriously and ask those you are concerned about directly about suicide.
  • Listen openly to their suicidal thoughts (avoid immediately resorting to problem solving) and connect them to professional resources (see above) so they can do a formal risk assessment and refer to a qualified mental health counselor.
  • Form a strong safety net underneath your loved one by showing concern and checking in with them on a regular basis. If they won't get help and are in immediate danger, contact 911 and ask for a "CIT" officer who is trained to help with mental health crises, or take them to an emergency room.
  • If a mental health counselor or healthcare provider doesn't create a suicide safety plan with them, work with your loved one to create one (  

 As a public official or funder: 

  • Fund and support mental health services, including public awareness campaigns to educate the public about suicide prevention and promote help-seeking and training of professionals to recognize and respond to suicide. 

  • Park Center is a community mental health center offering a full continuum of behavioral health care for people of all ages in Allen, Adams and Wells counties. Contact them at 260-481-2700, 909 E. State Boulevard, Fort Wayne, IN 46805.
  • Bowen Center is a comprehensive mental health center offering a wide variety of services in northeast Indiana. Contact them at 260-471-3500, 2100 Goshen Road, Fort Wayne, IN 46808,
  • Parkview Behavioral Health provides inpatient mental health treatment for children and adults. Contact them at 260-373-7500, 1720 Beacon Street, Fort Wayne, IN 46805,

  • St. Joseph Behavioral Health provides inpatient, partial hospitalization and/or intensive outpatient psychiatric programs, specializing in elderly populations. Contact them at 260-425-3606, 700 Broadway, Fort Wayne, IN 46802,
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), provides crisis support to suicidal individuals and their families (offers specialized lines for veterans and those who speak Spanish) and free materials at
  • Indiana Cares Youth Suicide Prevention Resource Center's Web site provides lots of suicide-related resources for youth, families, and agencies/communities. It is housed at the IPFW Behavioral Health & Family Studies Institute which provides training and information on suicide prevention:, 260-481-6238,
  • Suicide Aftercare Council of Allen County is working to improve support to families who have experienced a suicide death. For more information, contact Colleen Carpenter: or 260-438-6763.
  • We the Living is a support group for those bereaved by suicide. It meets once a month on the second Wednesday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Plymouth Congregational Church, 501 W Berry St, Fort Wayne, IN. Contact Jennifer for more information: or 260-387-6934.
  • Mental Health America in Allen County provides mental health education for the community, volunteer services, and assistance to clients and their families in accessing counseling/ treatment facilities. Contact them at 260-422-6441, 227 E. Washington Blvd. - Suite 300, Fort Wayne, IN 46802,
  • Colleen Carpenter offers evidence-based training in suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention as well as tailored consultation on best practices in suicide prevention. Contact her at 260-438-6763,
  • United Way of Allen County 2-1-1 maintains a listing of mental health resources on its Web site at Contact them at or by calling 2-1-1.
Fast Facts is a collaboration of the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health and
United Way of Allen County 2-1-1
  Contact Deborah McMahan, MD or John Silcox
 c/o Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health