Community sees uptick in suicide-related calls, resources available for help
In the New River Valley, first responders have noticed a recent rise in calls related to attempted and completed suicide.
“Three months ago our worlds got turned upside down, overnight literally,” said Mike Wade from New River Valley Community Services. “We’re beginning to hear more and more about those kinds of things and what worries me about this pandemic.”
Wade said increased stressors like financial hardships, unemployment and managing childcare are variables beyond our control that could lead people down the wrong path.
“It’s only natural to expect that we see more issues around suicide and suicide attempts because people are really stressed out right now,” Wade said.
Wade said there are usually three warning signs someone may be contemplating suicide; in their language, perhaps saying they don’t want to go on living; their behavior, losing interest in something they once enjoyed; and drastic mood changes.
“What we always tell people is don’t be afraid to have the conversation,” Wade said. “If you’re truly concerned about someone maybe contemplating suicide, have that conversation, directly ask them. Don’t be afraid to do that. It’s not going to increase the likelihood that they’re going to do it.”
Through programs like Lock and Talk, NRVCS is working to help our community keep easy access to lethal means limited to help with prevention.
“It’s really about intervening and getting in touch with people to remind them that hey, things are really tough right now, but tomorrow is another day,” Wade said. “There is hope and you have to hang on to that.”
Because of the pandemic, many NRVCS services have transitioned to telehealth. Wade said they’ve seen a dramatic decrease in the no-show rate for appointments.
NRVCS was able to pull the most recent reported suicides from 2017 for the NRV from the Chief Medical Examiner for Virginia.
Floyd County 1
Giles County 3
Montgomery County 10
Pulaski County 9
City of Radford 0
If you are in need of services, you can contact the agency directly at 540-961-8400. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255.