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Oakland County sees uptick in suicides, officials say

CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for June 9, 2023
CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for June 9, 2023 02:51

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - The conversations around mental health continue to grow. The Oakland County Sheriff's Office says it responded to multiple suicides or suicide attempts this week alone.

"It's important for people to be aware of that and know they can ask for help. It takes strength. It's not a weakness; it takes strength to ask for help," said Sheriff Michael Bouchard.

Oakland County's Sheriff is sounding the alarm on a trend his office has seen this week. Bouchard says within a 28-hour period, there were multiple suicides, suicide attempts, and overdoses.

"When you have basically four to six within a 28-hour period it jumps out at you," the sheriff said.

Bouchard says there are a couple of suicides weekly. He adds that oftentimes their office is left in the dark about why the person took their own life.

"In one of the cases that we are talking about, there was a suicide note but it's kind of all over the map."

To get a better understanding of what could be happening, CBS News Detroit talked with Dr. Stephanie Kastely, a mental health professional with Wayne State University.

Kastely says the warmer weather could be a factor in the spike.

"If you think about it when it's cold and snowy and rainy out we don't want to do anything – but when it's warmer out it does give us a bit of motivation so when we are looking at suicide risk, something like the weather could definitely be a risk factor," Kastely said.

Other risk factors could include financial stress and unexpected events.

"I think a lot of this is on the heels of the isolation that was magnified during covid and its kind of building blocks – on top of each other," Bouchard said.

Kastely recommends those who may be struggling to find someone to talk to because help is out there.

"Well, I would say certainly not just talk to but somebody who is an empathetic listener."

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