Media Contact: Phyllis Jones (DMH)
(202) 673.1937 desk
(202) 631.3077 mobile
Mayor Vincent C. Gray proclaims September 4-10, 2011 as Suicide Prevention Week in the District of Columbia. Suicide is the 11th leading cause of all deaths in the United States and the third leading cause among young people 15 to 24 years of age.
Many District youth experience risk factors associated with suicide that include exposure to violence, trauma, poverty and substance abuse. The District of Columbia Department of Mental Health works to prevent youth suicide through its Capital CARES Program (Citywide Alliance to Reduce Risk for and Eliminate Youth Suicide) and the D.C. Youth Suicide Prevention Coalition made up of other government agencies and community groups.
Capital CARES provides suicide and mental health screenings in schools and in the community with parental consent, trains adults to recognize when a youth is at risk, and funds community based suicide prevention programs for youth with demographic and/or behavioral risk factors for suicide.
“A great many suicides are preventable but the stigma associated with mental illness and suicide often discourages persons at risk for suicide from seeking life-saving help”, said Stephen T. Baron, Director of the Mental Health Department.
The Department supports a 24/7 emergency crisis service for youth experiencing a psychiatric or emotional crisis. Teams of mental health clinicians respond to emergency calls whether in school, the home or community. In addition, trained mental health counselors are available by phone 24/7 on the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
Capital CARES is holding a citywide conference on September 16, 2011, on dispelling myths and encouraging care for youth and their families who may be struggling with depression, thoughts of suicide and other mental health issues. For more information about the conference, please contact
For more information about suicide warning signs and what to do, go to www.suicidology.org. The Department of Mental Health offers prevention and clinical services to youth and their families. To enroll in services or for more information, call 1-888-793-4357.
The Capital CARES is funded by the federal Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). National Suicide Prevention Week was started in 1968 by the American Association of Suicidology (AAS), a national association of more than 1,200 individuals and organizations, to promote awareness and advocacy about suicide prevention.