Loudoun County is now offering free locking devices for guns and medication as part of the suicide prevention campaign “Lock and Talk Virginia.”
Lock and Talk Virginia focuses on “means safety,” which aims to limit access to lethal means of suicide. Studies indicate that 61 percent of people who die by suicide use firearms, and 19 percent of people who die by suicide overdose on medications. Experts say that “means safety” is the most effective method of preventing suicides.
Teaching life-saving conversation skills is another key component of Lock and Talk Virginia. Talking about the problem of suicide reduces stigma, encourages help-seeking behavior, and ultimately saves lives.
Loudoun County offers two related training programs on an ongoing basis.
Mental Health First Aid trains participants to assist someone experiencing a mental health or substance use-related issue in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Participants learn risk factors and how to identify signs and symptoms for mental health and addiction concerns.
REVIVE! teaches participants how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose emergency with the administration of naloxone. The goal of REVIVE! is to save lives by reducing the number of deaths resulting from opioid overdose emergencies.
For more information or to obtain trigger locks and cable locks for guns and locking pill bottles, contact the Department of Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Developmental Services’ Prevention/Intervention Manager Judith Romberg at 703-777-0176 or Judith.Romberg@loudoun.gov.
Lock and Talk Virginia is supported by the Suicide Prevention Alliance of Northern Virginia, a regional coalition of Community Services Boards, including the Loudoun Community Services Board, and other groups in Northern Virginia working together to raise awareness and share resources to prevent suicide. More information is online at loudoun.gov/SuicidePrevention.
Help for people experiencing a mental health crisis is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 703-777-0320, or by contacting the PRS CrisisLink Hotline by calling 1-800-273-TALK or texting CONNECT to 85511. In an emergency, call 911 and ask for a Crisis Intervention Team deputy or officer.