Between 2000 and 2009, 2,807 West Virginians took their own lives, according to the state Council for the Prevention of Suicide. Of that number, 320 were people between 15-24 years of age. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for Mountain State residents in that age group.
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, and state officials including Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin are involved in activities marking the grim occasion. Most organized suicide prevention programs aim at young people.
Suicides often don't make the news because most media outlets, including the News-Register, make it a practice not to report them unless they occur in a public place or involve a government official or other well-known person. Yet the problem, if illustrated only by the numbers, is a serious one.
And it is local. We know of suicides during the past couple of years in every Northern Panhandle county. According to the state prevention organization, Tyler is one of the four counties with the highest suicide rates in the state (the others are Clay, Mercer and Pocahontas).
While some suicide victims clearly were troubled in days leading up to the tragedies that claimed their lives, others display few symptoms of problems.
That leaves it up to Mountain State residents to keep our eyes open for friends, family members, co-workers and classmates who may be susceptible to the kind of depression that can lead to suicide.
We urge readers to learn more about the problem, with the goal of heading off suicidal tendencies among those around us.