Suicide rates are on the rise in Virginia, especially among women.
Lawmakers are trying to figure out ways to reverse the trend.
Since 2010, the suicide rate among women in Virginia has increased 24 percent.
Freddy Mejia at the Commonwealth Institute says a number of factors may have contributed. “Making sure that mental health is accessible to this population is crucial. We also know that increased access to lethal means, such as illicit and prescription drugs as well as firearms, may have contributed to this rise.”
One potential solution, he says, is the same-day mental-health assessments that community service boards across Virginia are in the process of setting up now.
Earlier this year, Delegate Wendy Gooditis, a Democrat from Northern Virginia, introduced a bill that requires the state to issue an annual report to lawmakers about suicide prevention. “My family was horrifically affected by the loss of my brother this year following a couple of years of suicide attempts, so in my personal and professional opinion anything we can do to spread the word and help these people is really important.”
Delegate Gooditis’ bill passed, and was signed by the governor. As a result, the state will submit a report to lawmakers this December, including a look at why the female suicide rate has gone up and what steps might be taken to reverse the trend.
THE NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE