The 9th annual Mental Health and Suicide Awareness Expo will be held Saturday, Sept. 23 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Marion Square Park. The expo coincides National Suicide Prevention week and month.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death nationally and affects people of all ages, ethnic and socioeconomic background. Specifically, for males, it is the 7th leading cause of death. Although rare, suicide can occur as young as age 5. According to the latest CDC data, rates for suicide continue to rise. Early identification and intervention can prevent suicides in both adults and children and assist individuals to lead happy, healthy lives.
“VA’s theme for this year’s Suicide Prevention Month is #BeThere—be there for anyone, including all Veterans that are in our care, as well as, those Veterans that are not in VA care,” said Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center’s Suicide Prevention Coordinator Dr. Mark De Santis. “When we provide an act of kindness to anyone, it can help them feel that they are not alone. We don’t know what difficulties they are experiencing in their lives and we may never know how great of an impact it can be to just be there. So, reach out, offer to listen to them and be a shoulder to lean on—let them know that you really do care. It can help save a life.”
A number of organizations, including the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, Charleston\Dorchester Mental Health, NAMI Charleston, Charleston County Consolidated 9-1-1 Center and Palmetto will be on hand to answer questions and give assistance.