HD18 - Report on Activities Related to Suicide Prevention (HB 2258, Chapter 464, 2017 Acts of Assembly)

Executive Summary:

DBHDS is pleased to submit its FY 2017 Annual Report on Activities Related to Suicide Prevention pursuant to HB 2258. The total number of suicides annually in Virginia increased from 2003 to 2013. Likewise, the overall rate of suicide also increased steadily from 10.8 to 12.7 per 100,000 residents from 2003 to 2013. The number and rate of suicide was higher among men than women and the suicide rate among men also showed a more pronounced increase from 17.0 to 20.1 suicide deaths per 100,000 residents. The trend of increasing number and rate of suicide parallels gender-specific and overall trends nationally.

The data reported in Appendix A of this report represent numbers and rates of suicide deaths in Virginia by Health Planning Regions from 2003-2015. The tables include a breakdown by select demographic and injury characteristics as well as select decedent and incident characteristics. Suicide decedents are reported based on Health Planning Region of residence.

Governor McDonnell signed into law the FY 2014 budget, which included a $1,100,000 ongoing appropriation to the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) to expand and support Suicide Prevention and Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) initiatives across the Commonwealth of Virginia. The funding is under the purview of the Office of Behavioral Health Wellness; $600,000 to expand MHFA and $500,000 to develop and implement a comprehensive statewide suicide prevention program. Funding for the Suicide Prevention and the MHFA Program Coordinators is included in this appropriation. Resources were allocated in an effort to prevent suicide and reduce the stigma of mental illness and seeking help.

It is a priority for DBHDS to have local participation in the development of community level strategies in suicide prevention and mental health promotion. Descriptions of the Regional Suicide Prevention Initiatives and other strategies related to suicide prevention are included in this report. Descriptions of the Suicide Prevention Interagency Advisory Group (SPIAG) and the Suicide Prevention across the Lifespan Plan are also included in this report.