This story discusses suicide and domestic violence. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis or is being abused, there are resources available.

Mental health resources:

  • 24/7 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: 988
  • 24/7 Crisis Text Helpline: Text 4HOPE to 741741
  • Netcare Access for Adults: 614-276-2273
  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital Psychiatric Crisis Assistance: 614-722-1800
  • Franklin County Suicide Prevention Hotline: 614-221-5445

Domestic violence resources:

  • 24/7 National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233
  • Connect to the 24/7 National Domestic Violence Live Chat here
  • LSS Choices 24/7 crisis line: 614-224-4663
  • Find an ODVN location here

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Following a suspected murder-suicide on Columbus’ southside Wednesday night, central Ohio mental health professionals want to remind residents that there are resources available to those needing them.

Mental illness — and the approach to it — is not one-size-fits-all, experts say. That’s why it’s important for those struggling with mental illness to get connected with help, whether it’s crisis management or long-term treatment.

At about 9:45 p.m. Wednesday, Columbus police responded to a reported shooting on the 3600 block of Parson Avenue. Police reported that family members received a call from Edward Sluder, who claimed he killed his wife, Marion Sluder, and that he was threatening to take his own life. Police found both Sluders inside the home, who were pronounced dead by the Columbus Division of Fire.

According to the FBI, about 600 murder-suicides happen nationwide each year. Nearly 160 Ohioans died by suicide in 2021, said Tony Coder, the executive director of the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation, says in 2021.

“I think it is always shocking,” Coder said. “It’s frightening, but also, folks are struggling with mental health issues.”

Coder said since the 988 suicide hotline launched last summer, calls in Ohio have doubled.

“I think seeing those numbers rise gives us that stigma is hopefully starting to subside around mental health but also that people are struggling,” Coder said.

Another place in Columbus that receives mental health emergency calls is Columbus Police’s Right Response Unit, which imbeds social workers and clinicians in dispatch call centers to assist in mental health emergencies.

“There are a lot of different things [we do],” said Miki Castle, a licensed social worker and community clinical counselor. “No one’s emergency is the same.”

Castle said a counselor’s job is to assess the situation, listen and figure out the best next steps. Like professionals in health care settings, Castle and other counselors use mental health screenings for suicidal ideation, homicidal ideation and other crises.

“We do our due diligence on our end to make sure we are covering all our bases,” Castle said. “We have a police dispatcher in the room with us listening and they are typing away in their system that communicates to the officers back in the streets.”

Castle said often, the counselor will call a taxi or otherwise coordinate transportation to the hospital, if needed, and will stay on the phone until the ride arrives. In many cases, the Right Response Unit is the first contact a person has that can connect them with mental health resources.

For those looking to help people experiencing mental health emergencies, Coder said a good place to start is by talking with that person.

“Educating yourself, knowing where the resource is, knowing where you can call and talk to, knowing some facilities around Columbus and central Ohio where you can go is really important and key to getting that person some help,” Coder said.

Wednesday night’s suspected murder-suicide is still under investigation. But many murder-suicides are the result of domestic violence, said Mary O’Doherty, the executive director of the Ohio Domestic Violence Network.

There were 112 deaths due to domestic violence in Ohio in 2022, O’Doherty said. For someone being abused, being able to tell a family member, friend or trusted confidant about the abuse is crucial.

“They need to know that it’s not appropriate. They have a right to be treated with respect by their partner or their boyfriend,” O’Doherty said.

O’Doherty recommends those experiencing domestic violence develop a safety plan in order to leave, if possible. If you’re in immediate danger, however, O’Doherty strongly recommends calling 911.

The Ohio Domestic Violence Network has 76 locations across the state. Last year, the network helped about 80,000 victims and sheltered about 8,000 of them.