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Suicide prevention month hits close to home for many in Virginia

Posted at 6:09 PM, Sep 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-08 18:44:33-04

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. -- Suicide Prevention Month hits close to home for Colonial Heights Superintendent William Sroufe.

"I think it's something that should go on, you know, all year long," Sroufe said.

His father died by suicide on January 2, 2009.

"He struggled with alcoholism, most of his adult life, and he had been sober for a long time and then started drinking again" said Dr. Sroufe.

Just five days into Suicide Prevention Month on September 5, Dinwiddie County first responders responded to two suicides.

"Saturday we responded, unfortunately, to two incidents where people took their lives here in the County," said Major William Knott with the Dinwiddie County Sheriff's Office.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States - more than 48,000 died by suicide in the country in 2018.

This year's Suicide Prevention Month, for the first time, is also 5 Months into a pandemic.

"In the Hospital, we've seen an increase in patients who have a lot of anxiety and depression related to what's going on right now," said Dr. Thersa Simon, with Poplar Springs Hospital.

The pandemic, Dr. Simon says, has also forced people not to seek help.

"People are struggling in silence. They have limited financial support, limited family support and sometimes it's hard for people to reach out".

Simon said the effects of Suicide are far-reaching.

"It affects everybody, the person around them, their loved ones, their family, the Doctors, you know, it takes a huge impact an it's a loss of life".

Now eleven years forward, Dr. Sroufe said he still battles hard feelings due to the death of his father.

"When I get angry with my Dad and I do, because my daughter is a senior at George Mason. My son's a Senior here and I got a Freshman starting here, and they're great kids and I'm sort of angry, because he didn't get to know them, he took that away from them."

If you are struggling, remember the phone call is free, all you have to do is pick it up and call 800-272-TALK or Poplar Springs Hospital at 804-733-6874. Help truly is, just a phone call away.