Richlands High School student dies in apparent suicide

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(WVVA) A second student at Richlands High School has reportedly taken their own life.

School principal Kimberly Ringstaff confirms that sophomore Kayla Hodges passed away on Monday.

“Yesterday afternoon we were notified that Kayla Hodges, a tenth grade honor roll student at Richlands High School, had passed away.  Kayla just returned from Virginia Beach competing in the State Skills USA contest in Automotive Technology.  She was loved by her classmates and the faculty and staff of Richlands High School.  During this time of mourning, our thoughts and prayers are with Kalya’s family and friends.”–Kimberly Ringstaff, Richlands High School Principal.

Students at Richlands High walked out of class Tuesday morning and meet briefly at the flagpole in front of the school.

The Tazewell County Sheriff’s Office declined to to say how Kayla died. They tell us it is an active investigation.

The death comes six months to the day that 15-year-old Justin Dye took his own life. Dye was also a sophomore student at the high school.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK)

Risk Factors (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline)

  • Mental disorders, particularly mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and certain personality disorders
  • Alcohol and other substance use disorders
  • Hopelessness
  • Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies
  • History of trauma or abuse
  • Major physical illnesses
  • Previous suicide attempt(s)
  • Family history of suicide
  • Job or financial loss
  • Loss of relationship(s)
  • Easy access to lethal means
  • Local clusters of suicide
  • Lack of social support and sense of isolation
  • Stigma associated with asking for help
  • Lack of healthcare, especially mental health and substance abuse treatment
  • Cultural and religious beliefs, such as the belief that suicide is a noble resolution of a personal dilemma
  • Exposure to others who have died by suicide (in real life or via the media and Internet)

Know the Warning Signs  (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) 

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Extreme mood swings

For more information:

-photo submitted by student at Richlands High School

Paul Hess

Paul Hess

Social Media & Digital Content Manager

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