The recent release of the "Suicide in Indiana" report by state health officials serves as a somber reminder that suicide is a leading cause of death for Hoosiers aged 15-54.

Reports of suicide deaths in Indiana increased steadily from 2007-2010, according to the report. Many suicides and suicide attempts are unreported.

Many of those who have taken their own lives, suffered in silence out of fear, shame or not knowing where to turn for support.

"Suicide deaths leave a legacy of unimaginable hurt and guilt in families and communities," said Indiana State Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Joan Duwve, M.D. "Information is available to learn more about the warning signs of suicide and how we can all work to prevent it."

Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death overall in Indiana, the second leading cause of death among 15-34 year-olds and the third-leading cause of death for adolescents between 10-14 years-olds, making it an important public health issue. There were 872 deaths due to suicide in Indiana in 2011, according to the 2011 Indiana Mortality Report, up from 867 deaths in 2010.

Suicide is a complex problem, resulting from one or more biological, psychological, environmental, social and/or cultural factors. Certain situations and medical conditions put people at increased risk for suicide. Risk factors include recent crisis or loss, unemployment, severe depression or feelings of hopelessness, family history of suicide, physical or sexual abuse, substance abuse and access to firearms or other lethal means.

Suicide warning signs include:

• Appearing depressed or sad most of the time.

• Talking or writing about death or suicide.

• Withdrawing from family and friends.

• Feeling hopeless and helpless.

• Feeling strong anger or rage.

• Feeling trapped - like there is no way out of a situation.

• Experiencing dramatic mood changes.

• Abusing drugs or alcohol.

• Exhibiting a change in personality.

• Acting impulsively or recklessly.

• Losing interest in most activities.

• Experiencing a change in sleeping or eating habits.

• Performing poorly at work or in school.

• Feeling excessive guilt or shame.

There is help available for people considering suicide. If you or someone you know exhibits suicide warning signs, immediately call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (800-273-8255), the Suicide Hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433) or 911.