Aug. 31, 2020
Chesterfield County Prevention Services
Chesterfield Suicide Awareness and Prevention Coalition
CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, VA — In recognition of National Suicide Prevention Month, Chesterfield County and the Chesterfield Suicide Awareness and Prevention Coalition is partnering with “Lock and Talk Virginia” to prevent suicide and promote wellness.
“The goal of this campaign is to increase community members’ confidence, knowledge and ability to prevent suicides by recognizing signs, asking clearly and directly about thoughts of suicide and taking steps to promote safety and connect to help,” said Chesterfield Prevention Services Manager Melissa Ackley. “If there’s anything this pandemic has shown us is the need for a strong support system and opening up to close family and friends about suicide is part of that healing process.”
Reducing the availability of highly lethal and commonly used suicide methods has been associated with declines in suicide rates of as much as 30-50 percent in other countries.
The county’s suicide awareness partnership with “Lock and Talk Virginia” is more important now than ever, as thousands of residents and their families continue to cope with the stress and strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As people navigate economic stress, social isolation, reduced access to religious services and overall national anxiety, the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported a spike in depression, stress and suicides across the U.S. since March.
Chesterfield is working to prevent suicides by limiting access to firearms and poisons during a mental health crisis and educating members of the public on how to recognize and respond to the warning signs of suicide. Decreasing access to lethal means by securing them in a locking container coupled with having open and honest discussions about suicidal thoughts can save lives, reduce stigma and encourage those struggling with their mental health to seek help.
Means restriction is one of the few empirically-based strategies to substantially reduce the number of suicides. In addition, Chesterfield County offers a variety of programs to help citizens recognize and respond to many different types of mental health crises.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, call Chesterfield Mental Health Emergency Services at 804-748-6356 or National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
For more information, visit www.chesterfield.gov/preventsuicide.