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State plan to reduce suicide death and injury relies on community-level efforts

Public Radio East
NCDHHS Secretary Kody Kinsley.

Suicide is among the top five leading causes of death for people ages 10 to 65 in North Carolina, and state officials are working to reduce injury and death by suicide.

Officials with the NC State Center for Health Statistics said that in 2019, suicide was the second leading cause of death for those ages 10-18 and the third leading cause of death for those ages 19-34.

Additionally, self-inflicted injuries as a result of suicide attempts accounted for 11,000 emergency department visits and more than 3,000 hospitalizations in North Carolina in 2020.

Officials with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services say the new state action plan includes proven strategies to prevent death by suicide and suicide attempts.

State Health Secretary Kody Kinsley said it calls for community-level prevention efforts, including increased awareness and education about mental health, depression and suicide.

"We know that someone who is considering suicide thinks they have no other option, and this plan implements multiple effective strategies to reach them before that point," said Kinsley. "The numbers of people considering suicide is staggering, and the COVID-19 pandemic made our challenge even greater. Behavioral health and resilience are one of our three priorities to recover stronger, and this coordinated effort will ensure that we make a difference in the health and wellbeing of North Carolinians."

Because many people use firearms or medications to attempt suicide, the plan also highlights safe storage efforts. Crisis intervention and monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on suicide and self-inflicted injuries are also important components of the plan.

Annette is originally a Midwest gal, born and raised in Michigan, but with career stops in many surrounding states, the Pacific Northwest, and various parts of the southeast. She has been involved in the media industry in eastern North Carolina for more than three years. An award-winning journalist and mother of four, Annette moved to ENC to be closer to family – in particular, her two young grandchildren. It’s possible that a -27 day with a -68 windchill in Minnesota may have also played a role in that decision. In her spare time, Annette does a lot of toddler and baby cuddling, reading, designing costumes for children’s theater and producing the coolest Halloween costumes anyone has ever seen. She has also worked as a diversity and inclusion facilitator serving school districts and large corporations. It’s the people that make this beautiful area special, and she wants to share those stories that touch the hearts of others. If you have a story idea to share, please reach out by email to westona@cravencc.edu.