September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, when we focus on promoting awareness and resources around the issue of suicide prevention, learn how to recognize and help others, and explore ways to discuss the topic of suicide without increasing the risk for harm.  This can be difficult to achieve in a society that shuns the topic of suicide from “polite” conversation.

suicide prevention

For an individual firmly invested in life and the future, the concept of suicide is unfathomable, uncomfortable, and unnatural—but so too is the opposite.  For those with suicidal ideations, the thought of living is unbearable, unmanageable, and now even unutterable.

Suicide thoughts can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background.  In memory of those who have suicided, and those considering it, we honor them by acknowledging their struggle and entering in to an honest, open, and safe discussion about the topic.

In this spirit, our Regional Prevention Council is hosting an event on September 16th entitled “Breaking the Taboo: Speaking from Research and Experience about Suicide”.   Presenting will be Dr. Thomas Joiner, an American academic psychologist and leading expert on suicide,  author of Why People Die by Suicide, Myths about Suicide, and more.  Also featured will be activist Dese’Rae Stage.  In 2013 she took her documentary project, Live through This, on the road; as of 2016 she has interviewed and photographed 153 Suicide attempt survivors in 24 states.

The event will be held from 1:00 – 3:30 pm on September 16th at:

The Dickinson Fine and Performing Arts Center at Piedmont Virginia Community College
501 College Drive
Charlottesville, VA 22902

Registration is free, and can be done through the following link:


There will also be with a free public viewing of Ms. Stage’s exhibit Live through This on September 15th, with a reception at 7 pm, at:

UVA’s Open Grounds
1400 University Avenue
Charlottesville, VA 22903

We hope you will join us both evenings as we discuss a topic so widely felt, but so seldom shared.


If you — or someone you know — needs help, please call 1.800.273.8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

For the HRCSB’s 24-hours Emergency Services, please call 540.434.1766.


Brandy Haden
M.Ed., Behavioral Health and Wellness Coordinator
Harrisonburg-Rockingham Community Services Board