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by Katie Pyzyk — December 30, 2016 at 11:00 am 0

Logo via Arlington CountyArlington County is stepping up its suicide prevention efforts in 2017, including launching a pilot program aimed specifically at youth.

The county’s Dept. of Human Services is enhancing its suicide prevention strategies based on the Zero Suicide initiative. The overall goal is to reduce the number of suicides in the county — there were 41 reported between 2013 an 2015 — to zero and improve care and outcomes for those seeking help.

Over the summer some county staff attended a seminar to learn more about implementing the Zero Suicide methods. They’ve applied the strategies and have been teaching other employees about them so everyone is on the same page in the new year.

After an assessment earlier this year, staff discovered inconsistencies in the suicide prevention knowledge and responses among the different divisions within DHS, says Sharon Lawrence, Children’s Behavioral Healthcare bureau chief.

“We wanted to establish a universal approach to make sure that we’re addressing suicide,” Lawrence says.

Part of the revamped approach is to step up training and to ensure all relevant DHS staff members are comfortable handling suicide-related discussions and situations.

In addition, the Children’s Behavioral Healthcare division is spearheading one of the major Zero Suicide-related programs in the new year: a pilot to assess the treatment model and address youth “suicidality,” both in identifying those at risk and in ongoing treatment of those individuals. As part of the pilot the division is implementing the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale, which includes plain-language questions that make it easier for staff to identify young people who are at risk of self-harm and to have more productive follow-up visits.

One reason the department chose to focus on youth for the pilot is that suicide is one of the top three leading causes of death for Americans between the ages of 10 and 24, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Plus, local survey results released in 2014 indicated that 25 percent of Arlington 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students reported feeling sad or hopeless for two or more weeks at a time.

“In the past year-and-a-half we have trained over 300 people in Arlington, including in the schools, to be able to identify when a young person is at risk of harm and may be in distress,” Lawrence says.

Overall, the new methods are “basically a commitment to provide better suicide prevention strategies and tools to DHS staff,” Lawrence says. “Suicide deaths are preventable, that’s the basis of Zero Suicide. The only way to prevent it is by implementing strategies that speak to leadership in terms of the culture you’re setting for staff and the community, [and by] providing training.”

The Department of Human Services’ increased push for suicide prevention also involves asking residents to give feedback via a short online survey about existing services, suicide prevention training and any unaddressed needs.

Lawrence says everyone should speak up if they encounter a person at risk of self-harm, whether it’s a young person or an adult. She suggests thinking of it like the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign.

“People say ‘I don’t know what to say.’ It’s best to say something so you don’t ever feel like you missed an opportunity [to help],” says Lawrence.

She explains that it’s okay not to directly address a person at risk of self-harm. It’s sometimes better to first talk to someone with knowledge of handling such situations, like a counselor or teacher. But Lawrence reiterates the importance of not staying silent.

“There’s always help. There is help in Arlington County,” she says.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of self-harm, call 911 or the Department of Human Services’ emergency services line at 703-228-5160. CrisisLink also has a 24-hour crisis hotline at 703-527-4077 or 800-SUICIDE, or text 703-940-0888.

by ARLnow.com — December 28, 2016 at 8:45 am 0

Rainbow behind the Iwo Jima memorial (photo courtesy Mark T.)

Webb Running for School BoardFormer candidate for Congress Mike Webb says he’s running for Arlington School Board against incumbent James Lander. “Every problem that we face in Arlington’s public schools can find a solution in opening public charter schools,” Webb wrote in a Facebook post. [Blue Virginia]

Handbag Schemer Led Lavish Lifestyle — Praepitcha Smatsorabudh, the Arlington resident who was just sentenced to 30 months in prison for a fake handbag scheme, led a lavish jet-setting lifestyle that she documented on Instagram while perpetrating the $1 million fraud. [The Sun, Daily Mail]

Metro Installing More WiFi — After a six-station pilot program, Metro has announced that it will be installing public WiFi at all of its underground stations. The work is expected to begin this summer and wrap up by the end of 2018. [The Hill]

VHC to Expand Mental Health Facilities — Virginia Hospital Center is being pushed to expand its behavioral and mental health facilities as part of a proposed expansion of the hospital. Currently, the facilities are located in the hospital’s basement and only include 18 beds. There are an estimated 6,000 people with serious mental illness in Arlington County. [InsideNova]

Arlington Suicide Prevention Survey — Arlington is conducting an online survey about the county’s suicide prevention resources and services. [SurveyMonkey]

Photo courtesy Mark T.

by ARLnow.com — December 1, 2016 at 9:20 am 0

1600 block of N. Kent Street (photo via Google Maps)Arlington County Police are investigating a death in Rosslyn.

A body was found this morning on the 1600 block of N. Kent Street, a narrow one-way that runs by the Rosslyn Spectrum theater.

At this point the death is not considered suspicious and is being investigated as a probable suicide, said Arlington County Police spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

Police are expected to remain on scene for some time, interviewing witnesses and conducting a death investigation.

Photo (top) via Google Maps

by ARLnow.com — November 8, 2016 at 11:35 am 0

The Arlington County Board on Saturday accepted state funding for mental health services and suicide prevention for those age 17 and younger.

From a county press release:

Arlington has received an additional $200,000 in state funding for a program that provides mobile crisis response and video-conference psychiatric counseling (tele-psychiatry) to children under the age of 18 across the region. The mobile nature of the program means that trained professionals will come to the home of a youth in crisis (or other community location) to provide face-to-face assessment, intervention and support, and coordinate follow-up services.

Arlington County’s Department of Human Services serves as the responsible fiscal agent for the Children’s Regional Crisis Response (CR2), launched in 2015. The program provides mobile crisis response and tele-psychiatry to youth under the age of 18 in Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William, and the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park. Services to youth and their families are provided under contract by the National Counseling Group, a community mental health organization that works throughout Virginia.

The additional state funding raises the ongoing regional budget for these services to $1.44 million for Fiscal Year 2017. The program is fully state-funded. So far in FY 2017, the program working with an average of 75 youth per month across the service area. Service provision is based on need rather than on a jurisdictional allocation formula.

“This regional program is an important part of our overall range of services for youth,” said County Board Chair Libby Garvey. “It complements the County’s outpatient therapy, case management and psychiatric services by providing rapid response to all youth facing a mental health and/or substance use crisis. I encourage everyone to learn more about the signs and symptoms of a child in crisis and how to get help. You can visit the website at cr2crisis.com.”

The Board unanimously approved accepting the funding.  To read the staff report, visit the county website. Scroll down to Item No. 28 on the Agenda for the Saturday, Nov. 5 Regular County Board Meeting.

Where to get help:

  1. If someone is in immediate danger, call 911
  1. In need of emergency mental health services? Call Arlington Children’s Behavioral Healthcare Services:
  • Emergency Line: 703-228-5160
  • General Number: 703-228-1560
  1. Contact CR2. Visit the website, or call:
  • 844-N-Crisis (844-627-4747) or 571-364-7390

Additional resources

Worried your child may attempt suicide/self-harm? Not sure what to do? Call:

  • Crisis Link Regional Hot Line: 703-527-4077
  • National Hope Line: 1-800-SUICIDE
  • LGBTQ Lifeline: 1-866-488-7386
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK
  • Text: CONNECT to 85511

by Tim Regan — September 16, 2016 at 2:35 pm 0

APS Suicide Prevention FlyerSeptember is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and Arlington County has a bevy of local and national resources on its website for those in need.

National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month “helps promote resources and awareness around the issues of suicide prevention, how you can help others and how to talk about suicide without increasing the risk of harm,” according to the National Alliance of Mental Illness.

Resources that adults can use include:

  • Arlington County Emergency Mental Health Services: 703-228-5160
  • Crisis Link: 703-527-4077 or text “Connect” to 85511
  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK
  • National Hopeline Network: 1-800-SUICIDE
  • LGBTQ Lifeline: 1-866-488-7386
  • Visit the Kristin Brooks Hope Center to chat online with a crisis intervention specialist
  • Call Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255, text to 838255, or chat online

For teens, the county suggests Your Life Your Voice, a 24-hour crisis hotline at 1-800-448-3000. The service also includes ways teens can email, chat and text for help.

Arlington Public Schools also distributes flyers in English and Spanish for young people looking to get help or aid their peers.

Online resources include:

Finally, if someone is in immediate danger, the county recommends you call 911 or emergency services at 703-228-5160.

Image via APS flyer

by ARLnow.com — June 22, 2016 at 4:05 pm 0

Police car lightsUpdate at 8 p.m. — All lanes are back open.

Update at 6 p.m. — The southbound lanes of Washington Blvd have reopened, but the northbound lanes remain closed due to the police investigation.

Earlier: All lanes of Washington Blvd remains closed near Fort Myer due to a self-inflicted shooting.

The shooting happened just after 3:30 p.m., when an Arlington County Police officer approached a stopped vehicle on the side of Washington Blvd. As the officer was walking up, the man inside the vehicle pulled out a handgun and fired several shots, according to ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage.

Numerous police officers responded to the scene following the shooting, but they took a cautious stance out of safety concerns. The county bomb squad was dispatched to the scene, to investigate the vehicle. At 4:20 p.m., paramedics pronounced the man dead.

The officer who first approached the car is being evaluated by paramedics but is believed to be uninjured. Significant traffic impacts are being reported due to the now-rush hour closure of Washington Blvd between Columbia Pike and Route 50.

If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, help is a phone call away. Call CrisisLink at 703-527-4077.

by ARLnow.com — May 4, 2016 at 9:30 am 0

Lightning over D.C., as seen from Arlington (Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber)

Car on Fire Spotted Driving Down Street — Yesterday evening, an Arlington County Fire Department unit radioed dispatch to report that they had just seen a car with flames visible from the engine compartment drive past them on Carlin Springs Road, its driver oblivious to the fire. The fire engine was able to turn around, catch up with the driver near the intersection of Wilson and Glebe, pull the car over and extinguish the flames. [Twitter, Twitter]

Wrong Man on Iwo Jima Memorial? — The Marine Corps is investigating claims that a Navy corpsman identified as one of the men who raised the flag in a moment depicted by Arlington’s Iwo Jima Memorial was not, in fact, in the original photo. [USA Today, Associated Press, New York Times]

USS Arlington Returns Home — The sailors and Marines aboard the USS Arlington have returned to Norfolk after a seven-month overseas deployment assisting in the fight against ISIS. [Marine Corps Times, WAVY]

Former Top Federal IT Official Dies — Greg Ambrose, who had served in senior information technology posts at the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, State and Veterans Affairs, died early Tuesday morning. Ambrose took his own life at a Rosslyn condominium after posting on Facebook about a woman who had left him for another man. [FCW, Twitter]

Arlington, Virginia Tech Join ‘Smart City’ Network — “Virginia Tech and Arlington County have been accepted into the MetroLab Network of 35 city/county-university partnerships that works to bring data, analytics and innovation to local government.” [Arlington County]

Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber

by ARLnow.com Sponsor — January 6, 2016 at 3:10 pm 0

Police car lightsArlington County Police are conducting a death investigation at the Fort Strong Apartments near Lyon Village.

Police responded to the complex on the 2000 block of N. Daniel Street, just off Lee Highway, around 2:30 p.m. for a report of a man stabbing himself with a knife.

Arriving officers told dispatchers that there was a man down and asked paramedics to expedite to the scene. Shortly thereafter, however, it was reported that the man had died.

The man’s wife and child were in an adjacent apartment at the time of the incident, according to initial reports.

A police spokeswoman confirmed that investigators were remaining on scene to investigate the man’s death. There is no threat to the public, police said.

If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, help is a phone call away. Call CrisisLink at 703-527-4077.

by ARLnow.com — September 14, 2015 at 9:05 am 5,308 0

Runners lined up for the 9/11 Memorial 5K Run on Saturday (courtesy photo)

Suspicious Vehicle Investigation at Pentagon — An SUV hopped a curb and ran into a pole at the Pentagon’s south parking lot Sunday morning. All three occupants of the vehicle were reportedly sleeping when police arrived, but then tried to drive away. Arlington’s bomb squad helped to check out the vehicle, which was deemed suspicious due to loose wires seen hanging out of it. [MyFoxDC, ABC News]

Va. Advances Potential I-395 Express Lane Plan — Virginia transportation officials are getting closer to announcing a plan to extend the I-95 Express Lanes up through I-395. Arlington officials previously filed suit to block a similar state plan to convert the I-395 HOV lanes to High Occupancy Toll lanes. [WTOP]

APS Students Named National Merit Semifinalists — Ten Arlington Public Schools students have been named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Competition. [Arlington Public Schools]

Arlington to Seek Route 1 Name Change — Arlington County plans to seek permission from the state to change the name of Jefferson Davis Highway in Arlington, according to County Board Chair Mary Hynes. However, one local state lawmaker says it’s highly unlikely that the Republican-controlled state legislature would okay the removal of Confederate leaders from local road names. [Washington Post]

Woman Dies in GW Parkway Wreck — A woman died early Sunday morning in a single-vehicle crash on the GW Parkway. The crash happened after the woman drove off the southbound side of the parkway, between Route 123 and Spout Run, and struck a tree. [WJLA]

Candlelight Vigil for Wakefield Student — A candlelight vigil is planned tonight for Lucas Guajardo, the Wakefield High School student who died Friday. The vigil is being organized by students and is planned to take place at 7:30 p.m. on the George Mason Drive side of the school. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Guajardo’s family with funeral expenses. The junior, who was a running back on the Warriors’ football team, was found dead by his older brother Friday afternoon after an apparent suicide. [TwitterGoFundMe]

Suicide’s Lasting Impact on SurvivorsBryan Price, a former Arlington Sheriff’s Deputy, shot and killed himself on May 17. His wife found Bryan’s body and says his decision to end his own life has torn her family apart. “If he had any clue what this would put us through… I honestly don’t think he could have done it,” Tara Price told a local TV station. [WHSV]

Courtesy photo

by ARLnow.com — September 12, 2015 at 7:35 am 20,258 0

Wakefield logoA member of the Wakefield High School football team has died.

The boy, a junior, was found dead on the roof of his home Friday afternoon, suffering an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

He was a running back on the Warriors football team. Friends and acquaintances are remembering the boy on Twitter, offering prayers and memories of a classmate with an infectious smile.

At this time, ARLnow.com is not identifying the deceased.

If you’re having thoughts of suicide, the Arlington-based CrisisLink hotline is available 24/7, at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

by ARLnow.com — June 12, 2015 at 3:40 pm 9,273 0

Police car lightsA woman is dead after shooting herself in the chest on her front porch.

The incident happened around 3:00 p.m. outside a home on the 4200 block of 22nd Street N. in Cherrydale.

Police were dispatched to the home after receiving a call from the woman’s therapist, who said her patient was making suicide threats. Moments after police were dispatched, the therapist — who was on the phone with the woman — said she heard a loud bang, according to police radio traffic.

Police arrived first on the scene and found the woman unresponsive outside the house. Medics reported that the woman was dead on arrival from a gunshot wound to the chest.

If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, help is a phone call away. Call CrisisLink at 703-527-4077.

by ARLnow.com — April 14, 2015 at 8:55 am 2,082 0

Cherry blossoms and Arlington House (Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf)

New Metro Train Debuts on Blue Line — Metro’s new 7000-series train made its public debut on the Blue Line this morning. Riders welcomed the next-generation rail cars with generally positive tweets. [Storify, Twitter]

Home Prices, Sales Rise — The volume of home sales in Arlington in March was 219, which is up 25 percent year-over-year. Housing sale prices also rose. The average sale price of all residential properties was up 1.3 percent to $628,483. The average price of single-family homes sold in March, meanwhile, was $919,858. [InsideNova]

Arlington to Employ Ebola Monitor — The Arlington County Board this weekend is expected to approve the acceptance of a $30,970 state grant earmarked for Ebola monitoring. “Grant funds will support ongoing monitoring and response coordination efforts for travelers returning from Ebola affected countries,” according to the staff report. “The funding supports temporary employment of a Health District Monitoring Coordinator ($29,400) and related office supplies ($1,570).” [Arlington County]

W-L Grad Dies — A student who graduated at the top of his Washington-Lee High School class in 2013 has been found dead after taking his own life. The student was a sophomore at William & Mary and was active in various theater groups. [William & Mary]

by ARLnow.com — December 9, 2014 at 4:45 pm 18,674 0

Ray Savoy, Jr. and Kristy Flowers (photo via Facebook)(Updated at 5:25 p.m.) Arlington County Police have confirmed that the two people found dead in a Westover apartment yesterday died as a result of an apparent murder-suicide.

Police say the bodies of Kristy Flowers, 31, and Ray Savoy, Jr., 29, were found in an apartment on the 1200 block of N. Kensington Street on Monday afternoon. Officers were called to the apartment to check on the welfare of the residents, who had not been heard from for a couple days.

Police say they believe Savoy shot Flowers, then turned the gun on himself. The two were a couple, lived together in the apartment and posted photos together on Facebook as recently as November.

“Awesome weekend in NYC with my LOVE BUG,” Savoy posted, along with a collection of photos featuring Flowers, on Nov. 22.

“There was no history of domestic violence at this location nor did either resident have any previous domestic violence arrests,” police noted in a press release this afternoon.

“To me, they were like the perfect couple… there was nothing to indicate that he was a violent person,” Kristy’s mother Patricia Flowers told the Washington Post. However, the Post also reported that Savoy “drank a lot and talked of the gun he kept in his car.”

A window was open in the couple’s second floor apartment at the time of the shooting, which is believed to have happened over the weekend. There were no reports of gunshots in the area, despite the presence of several apartment buildings immediately adjacent to and across the street from the scene.

“Officers and detectives have canvassed the area… we find it very unusual that no one reported it,” ACPD spokesman Lt. Kip Malcolm told ARLnow.com.

Flowers is originally from Elyria, Ohio and was studying law at American University, according to social media pages. She worked as an analyst at Reston-based Leidos, the defense contractor formerly known as SAIC, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Savoy’s Facebook page says he’s an Army veteran and a native of Aquasco, Maryland.

Photo via Facebook

by Ethan Rothstein — June 24, 2014 at 3:35 pm 4,972 0

Police car lights(Updated at 5:30 p.m.) Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Robert Terrill, 92, has been identified as the man found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday.

Terrill, a Falls Church resident, was declared dead on the scene Friday morning in Section 64 of the cemetery, near the Columbarium Courts, according to a press release. He suffered what was reported by first responders to be a gunshot wound to his head.

Terrill’s wife, Helen Burgess Terrill, who died in 2009, was buried in Section 64. He described himself in a news article after her death as his wife’s “loving soul mate.”

“Although we have not completely ruled it out in order to conduct a complete and thorough investigation, we do not suspect foul play at this point in the investigation,” said Chris Grey, the spokesman for the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command, which is the lead agency investigating the death. Officials said the incident is unprecedented for Arlington National Cemetery.

“The cemetery is not aware of an incident such as this previously happening in the cemetery,” said the press release.

Terrill reportedly served in World War II before being commissioned in 1946. According to an Air Force spokesman, he flew more than 8,000 hours as a command pilot before retiring from his last duty assignment at the Pentagon in 1968.

by ARLnow.com — June 20, 2014 at 10:45 am 9,002 0

Police car lights(Updated at 12:40 p.m.) Police are on the scene of a self-inflicted shooting at Arlington National Cemetery.

Initial reports suggest a man shot himself in the head with a shotgun around 10:20 a.m. Paramedics determined the man to be dead on the scene.

The shooting was reported to have happened near the Pentagon Monument in Section 64, within view of the Pentagon at the southeastern corner of the cemetery. The Pentagon Monument is where remains of the victims of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon were buried.

After the man was pronounced dead by medics, the scene was turned over law enforcement for an investigation.

Arlington National Cemetery issued the following press release about the incident Friday afternoon:

At approximately 10:00 a.m. today, first responders to include Military Police from Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Special Agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command and Arlington County Police Department Officers, responded to reports of a single gunshot at Arlington National Cemetery in Section 64, near the Columbarium Courts. Upon arrival, a deceased male was discovered with a single gunshot wound.

“Although we have not completely ruled it out in order to conduct a complete and thorough investigation, we do not suspect foul play at this point in the investigation,” said Chris Grey, the spokesman for the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command, the lead agency investigating the death.

All indications are this is a tragic and isolated incident and there is no threat to the public or those visiting Arlington National Cemetery. The cemetery remains open to visitors and families and graveside services are continuing as planned.

No further information will be released at this time to protect the integrity of the investigative process and until the deceased is positively identified and next of kin is officially notified.

If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, help is a phone call away. Call CrisisLink at 703-527-4077.

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