Mary Washington Healthcare, Rappahannock Area Community Services Board
and Rappahannock United Way combined resources and convened experts to
host a town hall on the serious public health issue of suicide. Suicide
takes an enormous toll on families, friends, co-workers, as well as our
veterans and impacts our communities as a whole.
Who is at Risk of Suicide?
Suicide does not discriminate. People of all genders, ages, and ethnicities
can be at risk for suicide. However, certain identified factors tend to
increase the risk for suicide:
- Depression, other mental disorders, and substance use disorder
- A prior suicide attempt
- Family history of a mental disorder or substance abuse
- Being exposed to others’ suicidal behavior (family, friends, etc.)
- Having guns or other firearms in the home
- Incarceration, being in jail or prison
- Family history of suicide
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself; a preoccupation with death
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
- Increasing use of alcohol or other drugs
- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawn or feeling isolated
- Displaying extreme mood swings
- Suddenly happier, calmer
- Loss of interest in things one cares about
- Giving away prized possessions
- Making arrangements; getting personal affairs in order
“People who talk about suicide won’t really do it.”
FALSE: Do not ignore any suicide threats. Almost everyone who attempts
or completes suicide has given warning signs through their words or behaviors.
“If a person is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going
to stop him/her.”
FALSE: Most suicidal people do not want to die; they want to stop the
pain. The impulse to end their life does not last forever.
“Talking about suicide may give the person the idea.”
FALSE: You do not give the person ideas about suicide by talking about
it. The opposite is true. Providing the opportunity to discuss their feelings
openly and safely is one of the most helpful things you can do.
If You See the Warning Signs of Suicide…
- Remain calm. Be prepared to talk about suicide.
Start the conversation by asking direct questions. Suicidal thoughts are
common with some mental illnesses and your willingness to talk about it
in a non-judgmental, non-confrontational way can be the help a person
needs to seek additional professional support. Questions to ask:
- “Are you thinking about suicide?”
- “Do you have a plan to die by suicide or take your life?”
- Never keep a plan for suicide a secret. You cannot promise confidentiality.
Saving a life is more important.
- Don’t try to minimize problems or shame a person into changing their mind.
- Be prepared to act. Do not leave a suicidal individual alone. Get them
to help immediately. But, you don’t have to do it alone. Seek additional
support from family, friends, and professionals.
- Always take thoughts of or plans for suicide seriously.
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States for all
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15 to 24 year olds (CDC).
- Depression effects 20-25% of Americans ages 18 or older in a given year (CDC).
- Only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression
receive treatment (National Alliance on Mental Illness).
- 80-90% of people that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully
using therapy and/or medication (TAPS study).
Calls to Action: What Can You Do?
First and foremost: If you or someone you love struggles with mental wellness,
please know you are not alone. Help is available:
- Help raise awareness with neighbors, co-workers, and friends about what
- Have a conversation with your family on mental wellness and help dispel
misconceptions around mental illness.
- Watch and listen to your loved ones for concerning changes in behavior.
Be willing to seek professional help and guidance.
- Remove access to lethal means. Make sure medications, guns, knives, and
other weapons are locked and safely stored. If able, remove them from
your home and ask a trusted adult to store them for you.
- Learn more! Sign-up for Mental Health First Aid, safeTALK, ASIST, Talk
Saves Lives, QPR, orother suicide prevention education training.
Rappahannock Area Mental Health Resources
In case of a Mental Health Emergency:
Rappahannock Area Community Services Board 24-hour Emergency Services
Snowden at Fredericksburg / Mary Washington Hospital
Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Mental Health America of Fredericksburg
- HelpLine – Free, confidential referral and information on mental
health practitioners, treatment services, community resources and educational
literature; available weekdays.
- Provider Listing – A listing of licensed mental health practitioners
in the private sector and mental health agencies with quarterly updates
is available online at www.mhafred.org.
- Senior Visitors – Program provides trained volunteers to visit seniors
who are isolated and lonely.
- Support Groups – Free non-therapeutic, professionally facilitated
groups including Mental Wellness, Teen Support, and Survivors of Suicide
Loss (for those who have lost a loved one to suicide).
- Suicide Prevention – “Signs of Suicide” – suicide
prevention education in local middle and high schools.
Mental Health America of Virginia Warm Line
Friendly, compassionate, non-judgmental peer-run support service for individuals
residing in Virginia who just need to talk or need a referral to mental
health resources. (Monday through Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
National Alliance on Mental Illness- Rappahannock
- Monthly Meetings – Free education programs and support groups for
family members and individuals with mental illness.
- Family-to-Family – Free 12-week course providing education and support
for family members, led by trained family members.
- In Our Own Voice – Free 60-90-minute presentation by individuals
telling their stories of recovery, interspersed with video; available
upon request; incorporated as part of Family-to-Family curriculum.
- Peer-to-Peer – Free 10-week course for individuals with mental illness,
taught by individuals with mental illness, providing education and support.
Free, confidential referral and information on health services, financial
assistance, housing, senior services, child care and more!
Virginia Veteran and Family Support (formerly the Virginia Wounded Warrior Program)
VVFS provides peer and family support and care coordination services to
Virginia veterans and their families with a special emphasis on those
affected by stress related conditions or traumatic brain injuries resulting
from military service.
Community Health Center of the Rappahannock Region
Caroline Family Practice
Staff includes a MD and clinical psychologist; dental, health and counseling services.
Dominion Day Services
Mental Health support services.
Supporting survivors of domestic violence to move beyond victimization
to healing and empowerment. Crisis intervention, 24-hour hotline, shelter,
free support groups.
Family Counseling Center for Recovery
Services for individuals with chemical dependency and their families:
assessment & intervention; intensive outpatient programs; ambulatory
detoxification; alternative therapies; family intervention.
Crisis intervention, Mental Health support services, intensive family services.
Fredericksburg Counseling Services
Free Mental Health clinic provides counseling for uninsured, low-income
individuals and families.
Mental Health support services, intensive in-home counseling, therapeutic
Lloyd F. Moss Free Clinic
Psychiatric evaluation with medication management and therapy support
for persons eligible for services at the Moss Free Clinic.
Mary Washington Healthcare: Snowden at Fredericksburg
Free assessments and referrals; intensive outpatient treatment for adults
with substance abuse; Mental Health day treatment for adolescents and
adults; inpatient services. A department of Mary Washington Healthcare.
National Counseling Group
Outpatient, intensive in-home, Mental Health support, therapeutic day
treatment, co-parenting, Mental Health and substance abuse outpatient,
substance abuse education, in-home counseling, psychological evaluations,
parenting competency evaluations, drug testing.
Rappahannock Area Community Services Board
Mental health, intellectual disability, substance abuse, prevention and
early intervention services, outpatient services, psychiatric care, medication
management, individual and group therapy, case management (all ages),
emergency services, crisis stabilization, specialized services for women,
day support, residential. 24-hour Emergency Services: 540-373-6876
Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault
540-371-6771 office /
Sexual abuse & rape crisis services - 24-hour crisis support; free
support groups for children, teens, women and men; free case management/legal
advocacy; trauma-informed counseling; art therapy; long-term counseling