A concerted effort by Stokes County agencies to address suicide is showing results, according to Stokes County Health Director Scott Lenhart.
Last week, while presenting the annual State of the County Health Report, he told the Stokes County Board of Commissioners that in recent years the county had made major strides to address the issue.
“We once had the top suicide rate in the state, but as of 2014 we are ranked at the 25th level,” said Lenhart. “We have made a lot of little steps that are finally paying off. We are doing something right.”
He said much of the success had come from the creation of a suicide task force which had created a variety of training for local organizations.
“We have had CIT training, we have have had mental health first aid training, and it is really doing a great job,” said Lenhart. “As a community we are coming together and really seeing it working. I hope to see the momentum keep going.”
He added the the task force had recently created a splinter group to address transportation issues in the county.
“We talk about this every health assessment,” said Lenhart. “Access to care is a transportation issue. We also have a lot of food deserts in this area.”
The annual report also showed that unemployment is dropping in the county.
“Over the last couple of years we have drastically gone down from 10.5 to 4.9 which is outstanding,” said Lenhart.
But he added that the report did show some bad news for the county — that the county was losing residents at a high speed.
“We lost about 2,000 people since the last census report,” said Lenhart. “It is projected to keep going down.”
Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.