Fredericksburg, Virginia – In 2022, 53 local residents died by suicide. That’s an increase of 11 from 2021, according to data from the Virginia Department of Health.

The Rappahannock EMS Council will use their monthly COPE Stakeholders meeting on September 20, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. to focus on suicide prevention. The meeting will be held via Zoom. Attendees will hear about local suicide data, the state strategic suicide prevention plan, risk and protective factors, local community resources, and supports available for service members, veterans, and their family members (SMVF).

Presenters include:

  • Allison Balmes-John, Population Health Manager, Rappahannock Area Health District
  • Angela Jameson, Community Engagement and Partnerships Coordinator, Central Virginia VA Healthcare System
  • Laura Robertson, Suicide Prevention Coordinator, Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services
  • Michelle Wagaman, Prevention Director, Rappahannock Area Community Services Board

To register for the COPE Stakeholder meeting on September 20, 2023:

COPE stands for Community Outreach Patient Engagement. An outreach program of the Rappahannock Emergency Medical Services Council, it is a community-focused health and social wellness initiative.

To learn more about COPE and how you can get involved, please visit

Community members who would like to participate in the formation of a local suicide prevention coalition are invited to attend an interest meeting on October 16, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. This meeting will be held at the RACSB at River Club location (10825 Tidewater Trail, Fredericksburg, VA 22408). To learn more, please contact Michelle Wagaman, Prevention Services Director, at [email protected] or 540-374-3337, ext. 7520,