Darlington Police Department receives grant to lower suicide rates

DARLINGTON, SC (WBTW) – As the weather gets cold it is often a time when people can need the most help. One Pee Dee police department is going beyond the call of duty to make sure people struggling with hard times get connected to help.

“It’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem,” That’s how Darlington Police chief feels about recent news on the number of suicide attempts in the area, and says it’s time to get more involved.

“Part of law enforcement’s job is to be alert to these kinds of things and put information out there that says if this is happening, reach out a talk to somebody,” Watson said.

The Chief said from 2014 to 2015, the number of attempted suicides in the city increased from one to 17, a spike that led the department to apply for and get a federal grant to make sure people get connected to help.

“Every time we get any kind of a mental health report, we’re gonna make sure that those folks have them in their hand,” explained Watson. “So that somebody sits down and talks to this kid or adult to make sure they’re getting the help that they need.”

Watson said the department is also joining forces with the city Fire Department, who will give support and distribute information to patients who might be reaching out for help. More than anything, Chief Watson wants to make sure these people don’t fall through the cracks.

“Don’t sit back and wait. Do something,” he said.

Watson posted on the police department Facebook page about the recent suicide statistics, as well as to help people understand what crying out for help might look like before it is too late.

“That’s what can happen,” Watson said. “Are going to be able to look yourself in the mirror for the rest of your days of your life and wonder ‘did I do everything, did I cross every bridge I could for this person?’ That’s just how I feel about it.”

Watson said the grant is just getting under way, but he hopes to lower the number of families who have to deal with suicide.