Residents Encouraged to Access Resources, Events During Suicide Prevention Month
For Immediate Release: September 9, 2020
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to be aware of ways to safeguard mental health. September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and the Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS) encourages residents to educate themselves and others on ways to prevent suicide and strengthen mental health by accessing and promoting resources and events throughout the month.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. In 2018, there were 1.4 million suicide attempts, and 48,344 Americans died by suicide. On average, there are 132 suicides a day.
DCHS has compiled resources online on how residents can get help and support someone in crisis, support their own and others’ mental health, get involved in suicide prevention efforts, and join social media campaigns to raise awareness during the month.
In addition, residents can also obtain free firearm locks and medicine lock boxes through Lock & Talk, a program facilitated by the Suicide Prevention Alliance of Northern (SPAN) Virginia. According to AFSP, firearms accounted for 50 percent of all suicide deaths, and 19 percent of people who complete suicide use poison or medication.
In recognition of Suicide Prevention Month and Older Virginians Mental Health Month, also in September, SPAN will host a virtual event, “Strengthening Resiliency and Preventing Suicide During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Conversation with Experts,” on Tuesday, September 29, 6-7:30 p.m. Speakers at the event include:
- Dr. Stacey Hardy-Chandler, PhD, JD, LCSW, who is the Center Director for DCHS Center for Children and Families and Co-Chair of Resilience Alexandria: Informing, Supporting and Elevating, Alexandria's trauma informed community network.
- Dr. Ramfis Marquez, PhD, LPC, who is the Behavioral Health Director of the GPW Health Center in Prince William County.
The event will be moderated by the Honorable Jane Woods, Chair of the Northern Virginia Health Foundation, former Virginia Secretary of the Health and Human Resources and member of the Virginia House of Delegates and Virginia Senate. The event is free, but registration is required.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call CrisisLink at 703.527.4077 or text CONNECT to 85511.
For more information and media inquiries, contact Noraine Buttar at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703.746.3436. Buttar is also a member of the SPAN Leadership Council.