Durham Police see spike in suicide calls


There have been seven suicides in Durham County since the beginning of November. "We have noticed a recent increase in the number of suicides and we want to work with The Durham Center to ensure that everyone knows that help is available," said Deputy Chief B.J. Council. "We take this issue very seriously as a department. More than 60 officers have undergone intensive Crisis Intervention Team training."

The Crisis Intervention Team teaches officers how to recognize and respond appropriately to individuals in mental health and substance abuse crisis, often resulting in the de-escalation of potentially explosive situations and the diversion of individuals into treatment rather than incarceration.

The Durham Center, which is the manager of Durham County's publicly funded mental health, developmental disability and substance abuse services, offers the following suicide warning signs:

  • Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself
  • Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, available pills or other means
  • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
  • Feeling trapped, like there's no way out
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawing from friends, family and society
  • Feeling anxious, agitated or unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
  • Experiencing dramatic mood changes
  • Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life. Individuals displaying one or more of these warning signs during the holidays or any time – or those concerned about them -- should reach out for help. In Durham County, Durham Center Access provides 24 hour a day, 365 day a year confidential assessment and if necessary, referral to appropriate care. The phone numbers are 919-560-7100 or 1-800-510-9132. Individuals experiencing an emergency situation can go directly to Durham Center Access at 309 Crutchfield Street, near Durham Regional Hospital in Durham. This walk-in crisis service is also available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached by calling 1-800-273-TALK. For more information, visit the websites of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or The Durham Center.
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