Overlap in farmer and veteran suicide


By John Hackley - [email protected]



Carianna Dorsett (right) of Whiteoak Jr./Sr. High School receives an award for her essay from ADAMH Prevention and Evaluation Manager William Showman.

Carianna Dorsett (right) of Whiteoak Jr./Sr. High School receives an award for her essay from ADAMH Prevention and Evaluation Manager William Showman.


John Hackley | The Times-Gazette

Highland County Red Ribbon Essay Contest winners announced


John Hackley | The Times-Gazette

During a meeting of the Highland County Drug Abuse Prevention Coalition, Whiteoak Jr./Sr. High School student Carianna Dorsett was awarded a $500 scholarship and a $100 prize for winning the ninth annual Write in Red – Red Ribbon Week Essay Contest for Highland County and for her school.

The competition that was held for all middle school and high school students in Fayette, Highland, Pickaway, Pike and Ross counties gave students the opportunity to write about how to prevent drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse.

The students who won prizes of $100 from the Paint Valley ADAMH Board for winning their school’s contest in Highland County were: Sydney Sanders of Fairfield High School, Secret Harvey of Fairfield Middle School, Gracie Bowers of McClain High School, Lillie Hogle of Greenfield Middle School, Jaelen Parcell of Hillsboro Middle School, Caden Faust of Lynchburg-Clay High School, Riley Markey of Lynchburg-Clay Middle School and Carly Stone of Whiteoak High School.

Dorsett read her essay about a cousin who was paralyzed in a car accident caused by a driver under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the coalition meeting.

The guest speaker for this month’s meeting was Sherri Jordan, the community engagement and partnership coordinator for the Veterans Health Administration (VA) in Chillicothe. She spoke to the group about combating suicide among the area’s military veteran population.

“Essentially, my role is to find and engage with community stakeholders in decreasing suicide among veterans and the veteran population,” said Jordan. “We’re very fortunate in this particular area and especially in Highland County because you all have lots of really cool ideas and lots of people who really do a lot within their community, and I think you should be proud.”

Jordan said for about the past 15 years the VA has concentrated primarily on the clinical aspect of suicide prevention that includes identifying veterans who might be at high risk for suicide, following the cases clinically, and case management. The suicide prevention efforts of the VA have recently increased the focus on community-based interventions that include joining and building coalitions and committees that concentrate on the problem.

She said one exceptional local example of community-based intervention is the Harvesting Healthy Minds event held annually at the Highland County Fair that seeks to promote the help available in the area of mental health services to local farmers. “Unfortunately, the suicide rate among farmers is one of those that that we have to watch out for and farmers are also veterans,” she said. “We’re finding there is overlap there.”

According to Jordan, one of the challenges of helping veterans is locating them. “What we’re trying to do is identify service members, veterans, and their families and screen them for suicide risk,” she said.

One program Jordan mentioned that has been particularly successful in suicide prevention is a horse farm that provides what is known as equine assisted learning. “Veterans love that stuff, and they love it because it’s therapeutic without sitting around a table chatting about or talking about things they don’t want to talk about.”

She said the work of the Highland County Drug Abuse Prevention Coalition relates to suicide prevention because the second leading cause of death among veterans is drug overdose. She said the leading cause of veteran suicides is death by firearm.

Jordan said it can be difficult to differentiate between which veteran drug overdoses are suicides and which are accidents. “Sometimes there are people that will choose that method of dying and sometimes it is accidental, but there may be a co-occurring suicidal ideation and the overdose may be accidental, but there may have been some expressed suicidal ideation as well and that’s a really tough thing to tease out,” she said.

She said people in a mental health crisis can call 988 for help, and there is an option for veterans to press 1. A text line is also available for mental health crisis at 741741.

“I”ve worked at the VA for over 14 years, and it’s been an honor and a privilege to serve veterans through mental health,” said Jordan. She has been in her current role for more than a year.

“When the opportunity came to do something on a community level, I thought that this would be a good fit for me and the passion that I have come to develop over a course of time in my service to veterans,” she said.

Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.

Carianna Dorsett (right) of Whiteoak Jr./Sr. High School receives an award for her essay from ADAMH Prevention and Evaluation Manager William Showman.
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2022/12/web1_Drug-pic-1.jpgCarianna Dorsett (right) of Whiteoak Jr./Sr. High School receives an award for her essay from ADAMH Prevention and Evaluation Manager William Showman. John Hackley | The Times-Gazette

Highland County Red Ribbon Essay Contest winners announced
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2022/12/web1_Drug-pic-2.jpgHighland County Red Ribbon Essay Contest winners announced John Hackley | The Times-Gazette

By John Hackley

[email protected]