'Extremely alarming:' Milwaukee Co. medical examiner sees 300% increase in suicides in August

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office says the month of August saw a 300% increase in suicides over the previous month.

"That is extremely alarming. We know in our field that suicide rates are increasing...but this rate of increased suicide rate is pretty alarming and unexpected," said Dr. Munther Barakat of Aurora Health Care. "When we look at suicide risk, we're looking at what are the variables that contribute to suicide -- its isolation, and uncertainty about your future."

Dr. Munther Barakat of Aurora Health Care

Dr. Barakat, who is the Director of Behavioral Health Therapy, said this alarming report is proof that 2020 is getting to people.

"We need to allow people to understand that they can talk about how they're feeling. But we also need to create an atmosphere where people who are hurting feel like they can talk about it and not be judged," said Dr. Barakat.

The medical examiner's office reports that 14 people have been confirmed as taking their life in August. That compares to just three people in July. However, 11 suicide examinations are pending -- so the actually total may be closer to 25.

"The first line of defense is really your family, really connecting with your family and processing it because they`re experiencing it too," said Dr. Barakat.

As we move into autumn, medical experts advise the public to take advantage of mental health resources -- and to get plenty of exercise.

Related links

UW Health, UW selected as 1 of first clinical sites to test new COVID-19 vaccine

Participants will be randomly assigned to receive two injections of either the investigational vaccine (also known as AZD1222) or a placebo designed to look like the investigational vaccine but containing no active vaccine.

'Going to be a struggle:' As virus rages, US economy struggles to sustain a recovery

“We are just dying for some government assistance and some guidance and some help.”