Local advocates speak ahead of World Suicide Prevention Day

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BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — September is Suicide Prevention Month, and Sept. 5-11 is Suicide Prevention Week. This, all leading to World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death in people ages 10 to 24 within the state. Middle aged men lead suicide deaths here in the mountain state. First Choice Services, Brother Up, and Prevent Suicide West Virginia are working to end the mental health stigma and save lives.  

“Suicide prevention is the responsibility of everyone and within the capability of anyone. We are only stronger together,” Prevent Suicide West Virginia Director, Barri Faucett, said.

September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day, meant to raise awareness about mental health. Michelle Toman is the founder of Brother Up and a suicide prevention advocate. She told 59News it is important to check in on your friends.

“This is a life-and-death conversation that possibly this individual has been having alone and an isolation,” Toman said. “So, it’s important to be able to say the word, ‘suicide,’ out loud. The best thing that we can do is remind people that they matter and that their life matters.”

She and her prevention awareness partner, Barri Faucett, add while suicide rates have been dropping in the mountain state, there is still more work to be done.

“There has been a reduction. So, West Virginia ranked seventh in the in the nation in 2018, and we’re currently 16th,” said Faucett.

Sheila Moran is the Communications and Marketing Director for First Choice Services, the company that runs the Suicide Prevention Lifeline in West Virginia. She said many are still afraid to speak up if they are having suicidal thoughts.

“It’s not necessarily people don’t have any friends or family around,” Moran added. “It’s that they’re afraid to talk about these things with them, they are afraid they may be judged.”

Everyone who is working in the fight against suicide wants to remind those struggling they are not alone. 

If you or someone you know is struggling, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and that is available 24/7.

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