County Focusing on Suicide Prevention for Mental Health Week

by ARLnow.com September 28, 2011 at 2:22 pm 3,142 7 Comments

Next week is national Mental Health Awareness Week and Arlington County is using the occasion to emphasize ways residents can help prevent suicide.

From 2005 to 2010 there were 102 suicide deaths in Arlington, according to the county’s Department of Human Services. During those six years, 71 percent of the deaths were among males, and most of those males were in their 30s or 40s.

Arlington’s average yearly suicide rate is 8.21 deaths per 100,000 residents. Though that rate is lower than the comparative national rate of 11.1 suicide deaths per 100,000 people (36,000 deaths in the U.S. per year), Arlington County is reminding residents that they can help prevent a tragedy by recognizing the following early warning signs of suicidal behavior.

  • Talk, threats or plans about hurting oneself, death or suicide
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Feeling uncontrolled rage or anger
  • Acting recklessly, seemingly without thinking
  • Feeling trapped
  • Increasing or excessive alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, society
  • Feeling anxious, agitated or unable to sleep
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Feeling purposeless, with no reasons to live

If someone you know exhibits any of those signs, you’re encouraged to call the Arlington County Mental Health Emergency Service 24-hour hotline at 703-228-5160. If you yourself are having thoughts of suicide, seek help by calling CrisisLink at 703-527-4077 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

  • JimPB

    The average of 17 documented suicides/year is larger by around a factor of 6 than the number of documented homicides. Males in their 30s-40s are more at risk for loss of life from themselves than from violence perpetuated by another.

    • CW


  • Steve-O

    And it is a bigger problem than murder and should have more attention resources devoted to it.

  • STee

    Your stats are not accurate. It however, is good to look and address this as it is often tragic. People who commit suicide do believe they have tried the options so when looking as a prevention approach, better to look at how communities take care of each other than to preach aout the ills of suicide. Too often those left behind did not see signs, show compassion, or reconciliation — then ask why. The why is in the mirror.

  • Brendan

    To the editor, it’s Mental Illness Awareness Week, not Mental Health Awareness Week. But thank you for mentioning this.

  • FW

    I heard on AVN that some Arlington police are trained to deal with mental health issues…but I can never see the special logo (or whatever it is) on their uniforms.

    • FW

      Meaning…either there are very few of them trained or the logo is not clearly visible.


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