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RICHMOND, VA – Next week, Virginia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) will provide suicide prevention education for the members of the Roanoke community and other Virginia localities.  This training, the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), is a “train the trainer” program to expand suicide prevention efforts across Virginia.  This week-long training will add to Virginia’s pool of certified ASIST trainers who are qualified to teach community services board personnel, school personnel, health care providers, members of the faith community and other citizens to more accurately identify and effectively address the immediate risk of suicide.


Media are invited to cover the training:


WHAT: Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) for Trainers


WHEN:  Monday, March 10 – Friday, March 14, 2014


WHERE:  Holiday Inn, 3315 Ordway Drive, Roanoke, VA 24017


WHY:  Suicide is a preventable tragedy. Virginia is taking action to reduce its occurrence across the Commonwealth. According to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME), between 1999 and 2011, more than 11,000 people died by suicide in Virginia. The OCME reports Virginia’s number of suicides and the suicide rate have continued to increase steadily, and the rate (12.6/100,000) is the highest it has been in the past 13 years. According to the Virginia Violent Death Reporting System (VVDRS), 1,037 Virginians died by suicide in 2011.  In the previous year, suicide was the 11th leading cause of death in Virginia.  Suicide was the second leading cause of death for individuals between 25 and 34 years old and third among those 15-24 years old.

BACKGROUND:  DBHDS and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) have used the ASIST model since 2001 to train individuals across Virginia.  Suicide prevention strategies, such as ASIST, were supported by the Governor’s Task Force on School and Campus Safety, formed after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. Resources to support substance abuse prevention initiatives are provided from a $500,000 ongoing initiative funded by the 2013 General Assembly.


For more information on suicide rates in Virginia, including by city/county, please visit:



Available to citizens statewide, Virginia’s public behavioral health and developmental disabilities services system is comprised of 40 community services boards (CSBs) and 16 state facilities. DBHDS seeks to promote dignity, choice, recovery, and the highest possible level of participation in work, relationships, and all aspects of community life for individuals with mental illness, developmental disabilities or substance-use disorders.


1220 Bank Street P.O. Box 1797 Richmond, Virginia 23218-1797

Phone: (804) 786-3921 Fax: (804) 371-6638 Web site:



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