September is recognized annually as Suicide Prevention Month.
This year, we were able to increase suicide alertness efforts in collaboration with the local school divisions. This was in part due to the Virginia Department of Education selecting one of our local suicide prevention initiatives, Lock and Talk Virginia, as part of their Suicide Prevention Month activities. Lock and Talk was highlighted as part of the theme for Week 3: Be the 1 to Keep Them Safe.
Lock and Talk Virginia was created five years ago by the Prevention professionals of the Community Services Boards located within Health Planning Region 1. RACSB Prevention Services have been there from the very beginning of this initiative.
Why Lock and Talk?
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.
RACSB provided bags containing resource materials to each school counselor, social worker, psychologist, and nurse within the five school divisions. The materials have also been provided to local private schools, Departments of Social Services, pediatricians, and other community partners.
We all have a role to play in suicide prevention. Not just in September. It’s something we can do each and every day.
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, help is available. Please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273- TALK (8255) or text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741. Locally, RACSB Emergency Services Therapists are available 24/7 at 540-373-6876.