By: Bob Jones, WEWS
Posted: 9:30 AM, Apr 2, 2018
Updated: 9:59 AM, Apr 3, 2018
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is coming to Stark County, Ohio to investigate the area’s startling rate of teen suicides, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
Federal health experts will spend two weeks here to figure out why a dozen Stark County teenagers have died by suicide since the end of summer.
The CDC visit comes at the request of local and state health officials.
According to the Canton Repository:
Since Aug. 13, 12 teens living in the Perry, Plain, Jackson, Northwest and Canton Local school districts have died by suicide, prompting local mental health experts to label it a suicide contagion and rattling residents who continue to search for answers as to why the deaths occurred.
In addition to outbreaks of disease, the CDC maintains a focus on suicides, collecting statistics and leading prevention efforts.
In 2016-17, the CDC investigated a cluster of youth suicides in Santa Clara County in California to recognize trends of fatal and non-fatal suicide behavior among youth.
Its investigation found that young people who died by suicide from 2003-2015 had common factors that included, but were not limited to:
The CDC found schools in Palo Alto, located in Santa Clara County, realized academic stress was causing depression, so the district effectively discontinued its early morning classes in middle school.
Additionally, in response to the suicides, cameras were installed along an area of train tracks, known as Caltrain, in the community where teens killed themselves. The height of the fences along the tracks was also extended.
Cleveland teenager Josh Ruminski,18, who survived two suicide attempts when he was 12 and 15, said he is glad a federal agency is teaming up with local health officials.
"It's very important because the epidemic that's going on in Ohio, is super important," Ruminski said. "We need to get to the bottom of why, what kind of experiences people are experiencing and how we can help fix that, especially in the school."
By Tami Mosser / Staff Writer
Posted Apr 13, 2018 at 12:37 PMUpdated Apr 13, 2018 at 1:58 PM
WOOSTER — Before Josh Ruminski was old enough to drive, he’d already attempted suicide twice.
He believes the anxiety and depression that haunted him were genetic — both his mother and his grandfather have had the same struggle.
But Ruminski, now 18, was able to get help. And he wants to make sure others have that same chance.
He is the founder and owner of the Happy Thoughts Candle Co., which is growing its customer base throughout the region and has made its first foray into Wayne County, via the Uptown Downtown Emporium in downtown Wooster.
Twenty percent of all sales of Ruminski’s scented candle, packages of candle tarts and warmers go to suicide prevention programs.
“I’ve always felt like I had to prove my worth to people,” said Ruminski, who began his community service at just 6 years old, providing tomato sauce to homeless shelters. By 12, he said, “I got very depressed, not knowing what my purpose in life was.”
An intense child who admitted he was more interested in NASA than pop culture, Ruminski was bullied at school as a “teacher’s pet” and made fun of because he was short and thin — which led him to the brink of an eating disorder.
But his grades never slipped and no one at his school suspected anything was amiss.
“I was never at peace,” Ruminski said of his 12-year-old self, “because I’d always have these negative thoughts running through my head.”
He found there was quiet in his head only when he slept. He decided a permanent sleep was the solution.
Ruminski tried hanging himself.
He survived, but found himself bouncing from one counselor to the next, trying to find a fit. In the meantime, he moved from the west side of Cleveland to the east side and to a new school where he was a minority in a place where everyone stuck to the people familiar to them.
And then his step-grandfather — the only person Ruminski said took the time to talk to him — died.
Then 15, Ruminski tried slitting his throat.
This time, he spent a few days in a hospital psychiatric ward, then found a counselor, as well as a psychiatrist and a nutritionist and an intensive outpatient group.
Medication helped, but Ruminski also credits therapy, which led him to the mindfulness that sustains him. “If a (negative) thought comes in,” he said, “notice it ... and let it pass.”
Stirring candle wax can be very therapeutic, which is good, considering Ruminski is making 96 candles a night in his home.
The standard candle, which sells for $7, is housed in a simple tin can. Ruminski buys them at discount stores, like Save-A-Lot, and drains out the tomato sauce, which he then bags, freezes, and donates to homeless shelters.
The can gets a candle, a label and a message: 1-800-273-8255 or text 74141.
It’s the number, he said, of a suicide hotline.
The business is growing, so much so that Ruminski’s mother most likely will leave her full-time job to dedicate more time to it as her son prepares to attend John Carroll University in the fall. He will have a double major in international business and psychology, with an emphasis on mental health services.
Ruminski knows now that he is not alone in his struggles — and he wants others to know they’re not alone, either. To them, “I would say first, that it is OK not to be OK,” Ruminski said. “Yes, there are a lot of things we cannot control. But this, too, shall pass and happier days are to come.”
In the meantime, Ruminski is growing his business (his candles came to the Uptown Downtown through dealer Arleen McAllister of Medina, who saw the Happy Thoughts Facebook page), giving interviews and planning for the future.
“We understand the compassion and we want to advocate to society, to change norms, and make our world a more comforting place,” Ruminski said on his website, “through our Happy Thoughts.”
Reporter Tami Mosser can be reached at 330-287-1655 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Staff report, The Morning Journal
Lorain County Community College has a new partner in the fight to change the conversation on mental health, according to a news release.
Josh Ruminski, an 18-year-old high school senior at St. Martin De Porres High School in Cleveland, will speak at 10 a.m. April 28 at LCCC for the American Society for Suicide Prevention’s “Out of the Darkness” walk for suicide prevention.
Ruminski’s company, Happy Thoughts Candle Co., has products at Commodore Books and More on LCCC’s campus, 1005 N. Abbe Road in Elyria.
Each candle lists a national suicide prevention hotline and text line with 20 percent of the proceeds donated to suicide prevention charities.
“I want to show people there is a light in the world,” Ruminski said. “I want to show them they aren’t alone.”
The mission of Ruminski’s candle company is to help fight the stigma of mental illness and to promote suicide prevention.
Ruminski’s candles are handcrafted at his Cleveland home.
“I wanted to be part of the new concept of social entrepreneurship, tying a business to a social cause to gain profit for a cause,” he said.
Ruminski started his company in 2016 with the help of a $1,000 award after winning the Pitch St. Clair competition for Cleveland high school students.
Happy Thoughts Candle Co. is Commodore Books and More’s latest “Locally Focused” partner following Fresh Brewed Tees and GV Art and Design, according to the release.
The candles are available in more than 100 scents with numerous unique labels, each with a positive phrase meant to inspire calmness and happiness, the release said.
All of the candles are designed to invoke positive thoughts and promote mental well-being in addition to some designs having tie-ins to Ruminski’s own life and different “fun candles,” according to the release.
The candles are sold in about a dozen local shops.
“We are proud to bring another local partner to the college bookstore, especially one that is supporting a cause that’s so important to the community,” said Patty Clark, Commodore Books and More’s general manager.
Ruminski also works part time at a local restaurant and a bank.
In the future, he plans to raise awareness and help organize efforts to educate teachers in mental health first aid through his new campaign, the Hope Campaign, according to the release.
After high school, Ruminski plans to attend John Carroll University to pursue a double major in international business with language and culture and psychology, with plans to earn a doctorate in psychology.
For more information on the “Out of the Darkness” walk for suicide prevention, contact Debra DiCillo at 440-865-9387 or email@example.com. Happy Thoughts Candle Co. and Commodore Books and More can be found at www.happythoughtscandlesco.com and www.loraincc.edu/bookstore.
BEFORE WE GO WE’VE GOT OUR A PLUS TO GIVE OUT. THIS ONE GOES TO ANOTHER START UP KID – ONE WHO’S LIGHTING UP THE MARKETPLACE WITH HIS BUSINESS IDEA.
MEET JOSH RUMINSKI.
JOSH: “I’M JOSH RUMINSKI; I’M THE FOUNDER AND OWNER OF HAPPY THOUGHTS CANDLE COMPANY.”
JOSH DECIDED HE WANTED TO START A CANDLE BUSINESS A YEAR AGO, WHEN HE WAS 16. HIS PARENTS WERE SKEPTICAL, BUT AFTER HE MADE HIS FIRST SALES AT A LOCAL CRAFT SHOW, THEY WERE CONVINCED HE WAS SERIOUS.
NOW; JOSH’S MOM AND DAD ARE FULLY ON BOARD, AND THE CANDLE MAKING PROCESS HAS BECOME A FAMILY AFFAIR. JOSH SAYS HIS PARENTS ARE HIS BIGGEST SUPPORTERS, WHICH IS A GOOD THING BECAUSE HE WOULDN’T BE ABLE TO KEEP UP WITH THE DEMAND FOR HIS CANDLES WITHOUT THEM!
JOSH SELLS HIS CANDLES AT 3 STORES AND AT CRAFT SHOWS AROUND OHIO. HE ALSO SELLS THEM ONLINE THROUGH A WEBSITE HE DESIGNED HIMSELF.
BUT THIS BUSINESS IS ABOUT MORE THAN JUST SELLING GREAT-SMELLING CANDLES. JOSH IS COMMITTED TO MAKING THE WORLD A MORE COMPASSIONATE PLACE, ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE STRUGGLING WITH MENTAL ILLNESS. HE PUTS INSPIRING QUOTES ON EACH CANDLE LABEL, AND HE DONATES 20 PERCENT OF THE PROCEEDS FROM EVERY CANDLE SALE TO A SUICIDE PREVENTION CHARITY.
JOSH: “AND THESE ARE TOMATO SAUCE CANS, AND THAT TOMATO SAUCE GETS DONATED TO A HOMELESS MINISTRY TOO.”
WELL, WE LOVE TO SEE BUSINESSES WITH A HEART, SO A BIG A-PLUS TO JOSH AND HIS HAPPY THOUGHTS CANDLES COMPANY!
NEWS5: Cleveland teen turns personal tragedy into help for others through suicide prevention efforts
By: Homa Bash
Posted: 8:07 PM, Dec 26, 2017
CLEVELAND - A Cleveland teenager has turned his personal tragedy into hope for hundreds of others.
Josh Ruminski, 17, is celebrating one year as the creator of “Happy Thoughts” Candles. The candles have inspirational sayings on the front, and the phone numbers to call and text the suicide prevention hotline on the back.
Ruminski was 12 years old the first time he tried to take his own life.
“We can see a physical illness, but we can’t see a mental illness,” he said of his battle with anxiety and depression. His dad Jamie Ruminski said he and his wife never saw the signs — they only saw their confident young son.
After the first attempt, Ruminski went to therapy and counseling and, eventually, he found his spark — he started his candle company with the hope of helping others.
“That’s where Josh has always been,” Jamie Ruminski said. “Josh has always been the one to go out and help somebody.”
The candles cost $7 apiece, and 20 percent of the proceeds go toward suicide prevention. The candles are also made out of recycled tomato sauce cans, and the sauce is donated to local homeless shelters. More than 2,000 candles have been sold.
They are available online and at certain stores in Northeast Ohio, including The Salvage Yard Resale Shoppe in Fairview Park.
CLEVELAND.COM: Josh Ruminski raises money for suicide prevention through candle company: Makers 2017
By Ginger Christ, The Plain Dealer
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Seventeen-year-old Josh Ruminski launched Happy Thoughts Candle Co. to illuminate the struggles of those battling with mental health. A suicide survivor, the high school student suffers from anxiety and depression.
A portion of the proceeds from each sale of the all-natural soy wax candles is donated to a suicide prevention charity.
"I started my candle company to help others and to show them that they are not alone in their fight," Ruminski said.
Favorite place to take a visitor: Edgewater Park or Crocker Park
Favorite restaurant: Barrio
Favorite all-time creation: My favorite all-time creation is language!
Pro-tip: Be careful not to put too much scent. Be confident. It's OK to mess up!
LCCC and Happy Thoughts teamed up to bring awareness to the Lorain County Community!
Josh Ruminski is trying to change Northeast Ohio’s stigma on mental health in a big way. His latest partner in this journey is Lorain County Community College where he will speak at the walk for suicide prevention and where his Happy Thoughts Candle Co. candles are sold at Commodore Books and More. Each candle lists a national suicide prevention hotline and text line and 20 percent of proceeds are donated to suicide prevention charities.
“I want to show people there is a light in the world,” Ruminski said. “I want to show them they aren’t alone.” His candle company’s mission is to help fight the stigma of mental illness and to promote suicide prevention. All of his candles are handcrafted at his Cleveland home, with his parents. Ruminski is an 18-year-old high school senior.
“I wanted to be part of the new concept of a social entrepreneurship, tying a business to a social cause to gain profit for a cause,” the Saint Martin De Porres student said. That’s why he founded the company in December, 2016, with the help of $1,000 in award funds after winning the Pitch St. Clair competition for Cleveland high school students.
Happy Thoughts Candle Co. is Commodore Books and More’s latest “Locally Focused” partner, after Fresh Brewed Tees and GV Art & Design. The candles come in more than 100 scents with numerous unique labels. Each candle has a positive phrase on the label meant to inspire calmness and happiness. All the candles are made inside of a tomato sauce can, after the tomato sauce is emptied and donated to local charity.
All of the candles are designed to invoke positive thoughts and to promote mental wellbeing. Some label designs have some tie-ins to Ruminski’s own life, with his best friend featured on the “best friend” candle. Others share mantras for mental wellbeing like “The best things in life aren’t things” or “Don’t lose yourself in your fears.” Fun candles like the “What’s this beverage?” candle feature one of three different scents. His products are sold in about a dozen local shops.
“We are proud to bring another local partner to the college bookstore, especially one that is supporting a cause that’s so important to the community,” Commodore Books and More’s general manager Patty Clark, said.
In addition to donating a portion of proceeds and listing a suicide hotline on his candles, Ruminski supports suicide awareness through attending suicide awareness walks, like the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness walk for suicide prevention at LCCC at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 28. For more information, contact Debra DiCillo at (440) 865-9387 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Ruminski will also speak on campus at NEO LaunchNET, LCCC’s local community business resources for launching and growing businesses, on social entrepreneurship this fall.
In addition to running the candle company and going to high school, Ruminski also works part-time at a local restaurant and a bank. In the future he plans to raise awareness and also help organize efforts educate teachers in mental health first aid through his new endeavor, the Hope Campaign.
After high school, he plans to attend John Carrol University and double major in international business with language and culture and psychology, and later earn a doctorate in psychology.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people ages 18 to 24 years old.
For more information,
visit http://www.happythoughtscandlesco.com or http://www.lorainccc.edu/bookstore.
Commodore Books and More is located on the first floor of College Center at 1005 North Abbe Road, Elyria, Ohio.