I am Lock and Talk.
By Michelle Wagaman, Prevention Services Coordinator
Did you know that the majority of individuals who die by suicide in Planning District 16 are white men ages 35 to 54? Or, that firearms are the most common mechanism of death by suicide?
Looking at all of our regional data and national research, we believe that means matter. Placing distance between an individual in crisis and access to lethal means like firearms and medications is important. When we encourage means safety, we can reduce the number of suicides in our communities. Lock.
We also believe that in order to promote community wellness, we have to have these important conversations. Increasing education and reducing stigma through trainings like Mental Health First Aid is important. When we discuss mental illness and provide the skills to intervene appropriately, we can reduce the number of suicides in our communities. Talk.
Lock and Talk Virginia was born.
We have spent the last two years building Lock and Talk Virginia as part of a regional grant from the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS). The “we” in this initiative are the eight Community Services Boards in Health Planning Region 1 and our regional suicide prevention coordinator Becky Textor. I’m excited to share that Lock and Talk has been identified as a best practice and other health planning regions are starting to adopt our program.
I’d like to thank RACSB Director of Operations Brandie Williams. At a state conference last year, she leaned over and said, “We are a Lock and Talk Family.” This has grown to be our campaign theme for the coming year. Pretty soon, you’ll see some Lock and Talk Virginia billboards, PSAs, and more with that messaging.
Will you join Brandie and I as Lock and Talk Families?
This means we lock and safely store firearms.
This means we do not keep unused or expired medications on hand.
This means we talk about our feelings, about suicide, about hope, about recovery.
September is National Suicide Prevention Month.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, RACSB Emergency Services Therapists are available 24/7 at 540-373-6876.
You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line (741741).