Emergency Services: 540-373-6876

By Michelle Wagaman, Prevention Services Coordinator

I married into a family that is really into games – like dedicate entire large closets to shelves and shelves of board games. There are childhood classics like Sorry! and Life, every version of Trivia Pursuit, card games like Bridge and 500, newer games like Apples to Apples and Cranium, and many more.

Recent family gatherings seem to lean towards trivia – especially games where we can play guys versus girls. I contribute where I can – current events/celebrities, ‘80’s music and movies, food – while doing my best to avoid world geography and European history and hoping my teammates have the answer.

While playing the Ultimate Pub Trivia game on New Year’s Day, one of my correct contributions to the girls team victory was being able to answer, to the nearest hundred, the number of confirmed suicide deaths from The Golden Gate Bridge. 1,600. The answer was 1,600 (and sadly that number has increased since the game was released).

I know that because my work in suicide prevention introduced me to one of the few survivors, Kevin Hines.

A Ripple Effect

Long exposure panorama of Golden Gate Bridge at dusk.

More than 1.600 suicides have occurred at the Golden Gate Bridge.

Kevin has been to Virginia numerous times and travels around the world sharing his story and his message of hope. Just last year, he created a documentary “Suicide: The Ripple Effect” which includes an intimate look at the role of the Golden Gate Bridge in deaths by suicide.

If you’ve heard Kevin speak, he shares that if anyone had asked him if he was thinking of killing himself, that he wouldn’t have made the attempt.

All it would’ve taken to prevent Kevin from attempting suicide was for someone to ask him if he was okay, if he was thinking of suicide.

It’s a hard question to ask.


Because once we get an answer, we have to respond.

Can you ask the question? Can you respond to the answer?

If you answered “no” or “I’m not sure,” I hope you’ll consider taking the Mental Health First Aid training offered by the Rappahannock Area Community Services Board. The training teaches us, regular people from all walks of life, how to better recognize and understand the warning signs that someone could be experiencing a mental health crisis. This training gives us the tools to assess the situation, to listen to the individual in a supportive way, to be familiar with local resources, and to be a positive support. This training can help save lives.

Saving Lives

There’s a national movement to make Mental Health First Aid as commonplace as CPR/First Aid. Just last year, more than 400 local community members took this training joining more than 42,000 Virginians as Mental Health First Aiders. Lady Gaga believes in this training so much that it’s offered in cities corresponding with her tour performances. And, Kevin Hines believes in this training. He shares his story in videos as part of the Youth Mental Health First Aid curriculum.

Here’s the 2019 Mental Health First Aid Training Schedule:

Mental Health First Aid (ADULT)

  • March 18/19: LifeCare Corporate Building, 1180 International Pkwy, Fredericksburg VA 22406
  • June 19/20: Rapp. United Way, 3310 Shannon Park Drive, Fredericksburg VA 22408
  • October 9/10, 2019: RACSB at River Club, 10825 Tidewater Trail, Fredericksburg, VA 22408

Adult Mental Health First Aid classes are held over two days. Day 1 from  8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and Day 2 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  Lunch is served on Day 1.

Youth Mental Health First Aid

  • February 13: LifeCare Corporate Building, 1180 International Pkwy, Fredericksburg VA 22406
  • May 9: Rappahannock United Way, 3310 Shannon Park Drive, Fredericksburg, VA 22408
  • September 12: RACSB at River Club, 10825 Tidewater Trail, Fredericksburg, VA 22408
  • November 15: RACSB at River Club, 10825 Tidewater Trail, Fredericksburg, VA 22408

Youth Mental Health First Aid classes are held from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. unless otherwise specified. Lunch is served for this one day training.

A $25 registration fee includes a workbook, refreshments, and lunch on the first day of training.  To learn more, to register, or to inquire about bringing this training to your employer or organization, please contact Jennifer Bateman at 540-374-3337, ext. 100 or jbateman@rappahannockareacsb.org.

Register online


Now hiring HopeStarters