North Carolina launches state-wide suicide prevention action plan

RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) – September is Suicide Awareness month, and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is launching a plan to help those struggling.

This action plan will be tackled by multi-sectored teams to address issues faced by people, families, and communities. Those teams and leaders across NCDHHS will guide implementation alongside partners from other state agencies, hospitals, local community non-profits, private agencies, local health departments, county departments of social services, health and mental health providers, parents and those with lived experience.

The plan will increase access to treatment and supportive services for survivors, those with underlying mental health challenges and family and friends of those who have died by suicide. The plan suggests strategies for community-level prevention efforts, including increased awareness and education about mental health, depression and suicide.

In 2019, suicide was the second leading cause of death for youth in North Carolina ages 10-18 and the third leading cause of death for those ages 19-34, according to the NC State Center for Health Statistics. Additionally, self-inflicted injuries as a result of suicide attempts accounted for 11,000 emergency department visits and more than 3,000 hospitalizations among North Carolina residents in 2020.

“We know that someone who is considering suicide thinks they have no other option, and this plan implements multiple effective strategies to reach them before that point,” said NCDHHS Secretary Kody H. Kinsley. “The numbers of people considering suicide is staggering, and the COVID-19 pandemic made our challenge even greater. Behavioral health and resilience are one of our three priorities to recover stronger, and this coordinated effort will ensure that we make a difference in the health and wellbeing of North Carolinians.”

For information on the Suicide Prevention Action Plan, you can click here for the full document.

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