Suicide Prevention and Awareness

Emergency: How Do I Get Help Now?

In an emergency, call 911 and ask for a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) deputy or officer.

Connect with RACSB Emergency Services any time of day:
Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania County & Stafford County: 540-373-6876
Caroline County: 804-633-4148
King George County: 540-775-5064

There are resources available 24 hours, 7 days a week for youth experiencing depression, suicidal thoughts or other behavioral crises. One available resource is the Rappahannock Community Services Board (RACSB). RACSB provides emergency services around the clock. Emergency Services Therapists offer brief crisis counseling and referrals for community resources. Our trained therapists also triage for psychiatric hospitalizations. Clinicians provide pre-screening to determine eligibility for involuntary admission and assist with voluntary admissions to psychiatric facilities.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a psychiatric crisis, Emergency Services are here to help. Emergency Services Therapists partner with local law enforcement to staff a Crisis Assessment Center in the Emergency Department at Mary Washington Hospital. This provides a space for law enforcement and Emergency Services Therapists to assess and monitor individuals under emergency custody orders. It could take up to eight hours to find a bed in a psychiatric facility. Additionally, Emergency Services Therapists help connect individuals with outpatient services and the crisis stabilization program.

There are free, confidential 24/7 supports available around the country:

Poster: sometimes friends need help getting from hopeless to hopeful

SOS Signs of Suicide Prevention Program

The teen years are often a roller-coaster ride of emotions with this time being especially susceptible to wide variations in mood and risky behaviors. It is easy to misread depression as normal adolescent turmoil; however, depression appears to be occurring at a much earlier age, and the past decade has seen teen suicide rates double. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in youth ages 10 to 19, and there are often warning signs that are overlooked.

King George County Schools is researching implementation of the SOS Signs of Suicide® High School Prevention Program (, which is the only evidenced-based program that has shown a 40-64% reduction in self-reported suicide attempts. Through classroom instruction and an educational video (Friends for Life), students are taught to identify the signs of depression, suicidality, and self-injury in themselves and their peers and to take help-seeking actions using the simple and easy-to-remember ACT®(Acknowledge-Care-Tell) technique. To learn more about the program, visit: SOS Friends for Life: Preventing Teen Suicide Trailer

The program goals are straightforward:

  • Help youth understand that depression is a treatable illness
  • Decrease suicide and suicide attempts by increasing knowledge and adaptive attitudes about depression among students
  • Educate youth that suicide is not a normal response to stress but rather, a preventable tragedy that often occurs as a result of untreated depression or other mental illness
  • Increase help-seeking by providing students with specific action steps to take if they are concerned about themselves or others and identifying the resources available to them
  • Encourage peer-to-peer communication about the ACT help-seeking message
  • Reduce stigma associated with mental health problems by integrating the topic into existing health curriculums

Youth Suicide Warning Signs

Leaders from the American Association of Suicidology and the National Center for the Prevention of Youth Suicide formed a national consensus around youth warning signs on suicide derived from the best available evidence. According to an expert panel on youth suicide (, the following signs may mean that a youth is at risk for suicide, particularly in youth who have attempted suicide in the past. Risk is greater if the warning sign is new or has increased, and possibly related to an anticipated or actual emotionally painful event, loss, or change.

The presence of more than one of the following warning signs may increase a youth's risk for engaging in suicidal behaviors in the near future:

  • Talking about or making plans for suicide
  • Expressing hopelessness about the future
  • Displaying severe/overwhelming emotional pain or distress
  • Withdrawal from or changes in social connections/situations
  • Changes in sleep (increase/decrease)
  • Anger or hostility that seems out of character or out of context
  • Recent increased agitation or irritability
  • Showing worrisome behavioral cues or marked changes in behavior, particularly in the presence of the warning signs above.

How To Help: Tips for Talking About Suicide

If these warning signs are present, friends or parents can help by acknowledging these serious signs of depression or suicide, letting him or her know you care, and informing a trusted adult who can help:

  • Ask if they are okay or if they are having thoughts of suicide
  • Express your concern about what you are observing in their behavior
  • Listen attentively and non-judgmentally
  • Reflect what they share and let them know they have been heard
  • Tell them they are not alone
  • Let them know that there are treatments available that can help
  • Guide them to additional professional help
  • Never leave someone alone who has threatened to harm him or herself or promise to keep it a secret. Get help immediately.

Professional Resources

Safe and Effective Messaging and Reporting

Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology's Effective Child Therapy

Suicide Prevention Resource Center's Programs and Practices Database

Suicide-Proof Your Home

US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Registry of Evidence-Based Programs

Virginia Department of Health's What Every Parent Should Know About Preventing Youth Suicide Parent.pdf

Virginia Department of Health's What Every Teacher Should Know About Preventing Youth Suicide

Virginia Department of Health's What are Friends For?

Youth Suicide Warning Signs

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