The Upper Arlington Police Division is investigating what is believed to be a suicide.

On the morning of Jan. 1, a man walking in Sunny 95 Park came upon a man's body in an open area of the grounds and called police.

Four Upper Arlington police officers responded to the park, 4395 Carriage Hill Lane, at 7:30 a.m. and determined the man was dead, the apparent victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to police.

According to a police report, police ruled the case an apparent suicide.

"Our investigation is not complete," said Bryan Kean, UAPD public-information officer. "We expect it will take approximately eight weeks to receive the final report from the (Franklin County) Coroner's Office.

"We won't close our case until that report is received. I can say that we do not suspect any foul play."

The victim was identified as a 48-year-old Upper Arlington man. ThisWeek Upper Arlington News will not name the man.

The police report stated the incident happened between 6 p.m. Dec. 31 and 7:30 a.m. Jan. 1.

A cellphone, a handgun, one 45-caliber round and one 45-caliber shell casing reportedly were found by the body.

McKean would not say if a note or any other evidence had been found that would provide a motive for the man's death.

"This would be a detail that would not be released until the case is closed," he said.

Suicide rates across the country and in Ohio have risen substantially in recent years.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics, the suicide rate in 2017 -- the most recent year for which statistics are available -- was 33% higher than in 1999.

The agency reported last June that suicide rates among people ages 15 to 64 rose from 10.5 per 100,000 in 1999 to 14 per 100,000 in 2017. It further stated America's suicide rates are at the highest level since World War II.

According to data provided by the Ohio Department of Health in November, five people in Ohio die by suicide every day, and one youth dies by suicide every 33 hours.

The ODH report stated there were 1,836 suicides in Ohio in 2018, and the highest rate -- the number of suicide deaths per 100,000 population -- was among adults 45 to 64 years old.

It further stated men are disproportionately burdened by suicide across the lifespan, and their suicide rate is nearly four times the rate among women.

"Suicide in Ohio and nationally is a growing public-health epidemic, particularly among young people," said ODH director Amy Acton, MD, MPH.

"Suicide is the leading cause of death among Ohioans ages 10-14 and the second-leading cause of death among Ohioans ages 15-34."

McKean said suicides aren't frequent in Upper Arlington but added the community is not immune from the rising trend.

"I would not say that suicides are 'common,' but they are unfortunately far too common," he said. "This is why it is so important for friends and family to support those whom they believe could be in crisis and encourage them to seek out help."

The local Suicide Prevention Hotline is 614-221-5445.

nellis@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNate