Virginia Suicide Rates at their Highest in Thirteen Years

By: David Coy Email
By: David Coy Email

HARRISONBURG --New numbers show that two Valley counties have the highest number of suicides in the state.

Crystal Myers is with Rockingham Memorial Hospital's Behavior Health. She said suicide is linked to depression.

"Suicide is not an mental illness it is a symptom of a mental illness," said Myers.

Experts believe high unemployment is one link to the rise in suicides.

"Certainly the economy. The stress people are feeling because they are underemployed or not employed at all," said Myers.

In 2003 there were 804 cases. The latest study in 2011 showed 1,067 cases. 78 percent were men. The most common months of the year for suicides were April and October. Page and Highland counties were ranked among the highest in the state with more than 40 cases each.

Myers said certain comments can be a red flag.

"Like if they start talking about, I wonder what it would be like to die. What do you think happens to people when they die? Or start planning for a funeral or start giving away their possessions," said Myers.

There are many different ways of coping with depression or thoughts of suicide.

"Whatever you find that you can take care of yourself. Taking walks, taking bathes, talking with friends..Call a counselor. Go in and talk about what you're experiencing," said Myers.

If you suffer long term or chronic depression you may need to take proper medication.

Myers said if you recognize any symptoms of depression or thoughts of suicide, talk to them. Get them help. You can either take them to a hospital or call a suicide prevention lifeline.
The number is 1-800-273-TALK(8255).

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