At its meeting on July 11, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors presented a proclamation, designating September 2017 as Suicide Awareness and Prevention Month.
Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in Virginia. On average, one person dies by suicide every eight hours in the state. According to the statistics published for 2017 by the National Capital Area branch of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 15-34 in Virginia, third for ages 10-14, and fourth among people 35-54.
“So many of these tragedies are preventable,” said Ellen Shannon, area director for the region’s AFSP chapter, “if only we can end the stigma and get people talking. It’s not a conversation that we’re comfortable having, but if we listen, and talk, we might just save a life.”
Studies show that more than 50 percent of all people who attempt suicide tell someone about their intentions, but too often people considering suicide are afraid to ask for help, and those who think they see the signs of trouble are reluctant to be wrong and then offend, or cause embarrassment.