ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY, Va. – The national suicide rate rose by 4% in 2021, according to federal data.
Experts with the Community Services Board said that trend is the same in our region.
Depression and anxiety among young people is up 40% since 2019 in our region, according to recent data presented by Region One Suicide Prevention Coordinator, Jordan Brooks.
Another startling statistic is the rise in death by suicide.
“We have seen a slight increase in reported suicides in the past few years. From 2019 to 2020, there was a 4% increase. Regardless if the number is large or small, it’s important to know those numbers are people,” said Brooks.
Experts shared some signs to be on the lookout for.
“Ultimately just noticing changes and how those changes are impacting them because everyone is different and everybody’s story and experiences are different. Things like sleep habits, appetite mood, and withdrawal from others, family and friends. Not doing things they typically liked to do,” said Brooks.
BreAnne Rogers, the Rockbridge Area Community Services Prevention Services Manager, said her agency offers free, tangible solutions to prevent suicide.
“We give out free locking medication lock boxes, free trigger locks, free cable locks, That way it can hopefully put time and distance between a potential thought and an action, which could be lifesaving for individuals,” said Rogers.
They said the single most protective factor in preventing youth from dying by suicide, having a trusted adult to talk to – and not being scared to speak openly about suicides and other mental health struggles.
“Really asking specifically about suicide. If someone is having thoughts of suicide by naming it, it’s not going to make it more appealing to someone, but by not naming it, it’s potentially avoiding,” said Rogers.
You can reach the National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling 988, or through chat here.
More resources can be found here.