Suicide, overdose rates on the rise across the state

GREENBRIER COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Suicide rates are up across the state and so are overdoses.

Since may, the number of calls directed to crisis center has skyrocketed.

“They’re actually up 140% through Seneca and they’re also up at the Family Refuge Center and the county 911 Center,” said state senator Stephen Baldwin, a member of the Greenbrier County COVID-19 Task Force. “We cross-referenced that with state data and it looked like the same thing was happening on the state level.”

Those calls come from residents struggling with things like suicidal thoughts and drug use. In some cases, it’s one last cry for help before it’s too late.

“They’re calling because they’re considering suicide or because they’ve been using or they’re thinking about using and want help or they’re calling because of a domestic violence situation. Those are the three areas in which calls seem to have significantly increased.”

A number of factors may have contributed to the increase, but one point Baldwin brought up was the pain of being a domestic violence victim.

“Domestic violence victims are twice as likely to commit suicide as other citizens.”

While numbers rise at an alarming rate, there is something you can do.

“Check on your neighbors. Dr. Morrison is our local health officer and she says that is the best thing anyone can do. The second thing is to check out our resource guide which has all the services available, even with coronavirus going on. Folks can get help with mental health, substance abuse and food insecurity.”

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. If you or a loved one struggles with drug addiction, call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for help.

Kassie Simmons
Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.