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Suicide rate spiking higher in Kendall County, coroner tells County Board

Suicides are on the rise in Kendall County, Coroner Jacquie Purcell said, an alarming trend that has county officials redoubling their efforts to make help available to those who need counseling and intervention services.

Over the past year, the rate of suicides has nearly doubled, Purcell told the Kendall County Board on Dec. 20.

“We’ve had a high influx of suicides lately,” Purcell said.

During the 13-month period from Dec. 1, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2021, there were 11 suicides in the county, Purcell said.

This calendar year has seen 19 county residents take their own lives, Purcell said, with seven of those occurring just since Nov. 1.

Moreover, in that same period of time since the start of November, there have been 20 suicide attempts and 58 suicide threats, according to figures Purcell obtained from KenCom, the county’s emergency dispatch center.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that many of the recent suicides were complete surprises, by people who had seemed to be functioning normally, Purcell said.

“We need to keep this on our radar and check with people,” Purcell said.

Many County Board members clearly were stunned by Purcell’s report.

County Board member Ruben Rodriguez said people need to reach out to friends and family.

“The question is: ‘Are you okay?’” Rodriguez said.

Purcell said that suicide is not the answer.

“The message is that options are available,” Purcell said.

Kendall County Health Department Executive Director RaeAnn VanGundy said crisis intervention services are available on any county campus during normal business hours and 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through the emergency crisis line at 630-553-9100.

The service is designed to interrupt the crisis that the caller is experiencing and provide relief from psychiatric distress, VanGundy said.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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