City of Alexandria Offers Suicide Prevention and Mental Illness Online Resources for Adults and Youth

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City of Alexandria Offers Suicide Prevention and Mental Illness Online Resources for Adults and Youth

For Immediate Release: January 27, 2021 

The City of Alexandria is offering access to an online training resource for adults and youth that uses simulation and role-play conversations to help recognize mental distress and initiate conversations about mental health. This resource is helpful for local residents and organizations looking to understand suicide prevention and assist youth affected by mental illness. 

Alexandria residents and organizations will be able to access two sets of resources through Kognito, which develops evidence-based health simulations. Through gaming technology, users engage in virtual role-play conversations, allowing them to try different approaches, get personalized feedback and gain the skills to lead similar conversations in real life:

  • Friend2Friend Training enables youth to practice supporting their peers through an interactive experience that allows them to have simulated, challenging conversations with a friend who may be suffering from psychological distress.

  • At Risk Training allows adults to participate in grade-specific training to learn about mental health and suicide prevention through simulated conversations with elementary, middle school and high school age youth. This helps them recognize when a student is in distress, initiate a conversation, and connect parents and students to support services.

Licenses are limited. Individuals and organizations based within the City of Alexandria who are interested in securing a license should email RAISE@alexandriava.gov. Individuals outside the City can email suicidepreventionnva@fairfaxcounty.gov for a referral to Kognito resources in their jurisdiction.

Nationally, nearly one in five youth will experience a mental health challenge such as depression or anxiety, and suicide remains one of the top three leading causes of death for youth.

In addition to Kognito licenses, Alexandria residents can help prevent suicide by obtaining free firearm locks and medicine lock boxes through Suicide Prevention Alliance of Northern Virginia’s Lock & Talk. In 2018, firearms accounted for 50% of all suicide deaths, and 19% of people who complete suicide use poison or medication, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. 

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (PRS) CrisisLink at 703.527.4077 or text CONNECT to 85511.

For inquiries from the news media only, contact Andrea Blackford, Senior Communications Officer, at andrea.blackford@alexandriava.gov or 703.746.3959.

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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/120043.

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