Local and state government officials, along with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, are working together to try and reverse a very disturbing trend in the state.

More and more people are choosing to take their own lives these days. There’s been a dramatic increase in suicides over the last decade and a half.

It takes time for the state to certify official tallies, however the numbers for the entire year of 2021 are known. That year, in North Carolina 1,448 people committed suicide.

Both the total number of suicides in the state and the rate have increased in North Carolina since the early part of this century.  According to stats publicized by the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC), the total number of suicides in the state increased by more than 40 percent from 2004 to 2020.

Many fear that the results that come in in the near future could be even worse.  That’s due in part to the pandemic and the fear and isolation people experienced.

“COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated challenges with mental health and increased risks of suicide in communities, with disruption to people’s lives and routines, as well as increased feelings of disconnection and isolation,” was the message the association sent out to county commissioners and other county officials across the state this week. “ This issue spans demographic groups, geography, and other categories. Many significant populations in North Carolina find themselves at elevated risk of suicide.”

The association held an online meeting with elected officials, county staff and county commissioners across the state on Tuesday, July 11, and the NCACC is working with a statewide anti-suicide program emanating from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Those interested in knowing more about the “Our State, Our Wellbeing: Partnering to Prevent Suicide in NC’ initiative” – can visit https://carolinaacross100.unc.edu/improving-mental-health-and-reducing-suicide.