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WHEREAS, suicide is a major public health concern; and
WHEREAS, nearly 47,000 people die by suicide each year in the United States and suicide is the 10th leading cause of death overall; and
WHEREAS, in 2017, Virginia experienced 1,157 deaths by suicide, making suicide the 11th leading cause of death in the Commonwealth; and
WHEREAS, suicide is complicated and tragic; there are almost always multiple contributing factors; and
WHEREAS, public awareness of the warning signs and the networks available for at-risk individuals are essential to continue lowering the rates of suicide; and
WHEREAS, reducing the stigma by discussing suicide and increasing the awareness of available resources encourages help-seeking behaviors and helps attempt survivors and survivors of suicide loss in their personal healing; and
WHEREAS, organizations such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Veteran Crisis Line, 1-800-273-8255, offer support for individuals and family members in suicidal crisis or emotional distress; and
WHEREAS, promoting safe and responsible care of lethal means – while encouraging community conversations around mental wellness – is vital to the mission of preventing suicides and promoting wellness; and
WHEREAS, the City of Richmond was the first of eight cities, and Virginia the first of seven states to participate in a Mayor's and Governor's Suicide Prevention Challenge for Military Service Members, Veterans and Families; and
WHEREAS, work throughout Virginia to strengthen capacity across multiple agencies and organizations helps to reduce the risk of suicide;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize September 8-14, 2019, as NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION WEEK in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.