(Placerville, CA) - September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. "For anyone who has lost a friend or loved one to suicide, this month can be especially hard," said Jamie Samboceti, Deputy Director of the El Dorado County Behavioral Health Division. "We hope that by supporting one another and working together to raise awareness about suicide, we can ultimately save lives."
It's estimated that one in five people in the United States is now living with a mental health condition, and one in 25 has a serious mental illness. Many more people may go undiagnosed or have temporary bouts of depression. Half of all lifetime mental health conditions begin by age 14 and 75% by age 24, but studies show that early intervention programs can help.
In El Dorado County, nearly 350 people died from suicide between the years 2005 and 2015. Samboceti emphasizes the importance of everyone in the community being informed and involved in suicide prevention, including family members, friends, caregivers, community agencies and health care providers. "Everyone should be aware of this issue, know the risks and signs, and have tools to offer support," said Samboceti.
El Dorado County Behavioral Health supports the national Know the Signs campaign through suicideispreventable.org – "Know the Signs, Find the Words, Reach Out." The most critical warning signs of suicide are:
"If you're concerned that someone is severely depressed or suicidal don't ignore those feelings," said Samboceti. "Talk to them. Ask direct questions. Listen. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255, the Friendship Line at (800) 971-0016 or the Crisis Text Line 741-741and talk or text with a trained counselor who can offer support and assistance." Another available resource is the Trevor Project LGBT Youth hotline at 1-866-488-7386.
"It's important to know that there is help and there is hope," added Samboceti. "For those struggling with mental health issues, speaking to someone, whether by going to a therapist or by attending a support group, can make a big difference."
The El Dorado County Behavioral Health Division offers free trainings on suicide prevention, and operates a 24-hour mental health crisis line at (530) 622-3345 in Placerville and at (530) 544-2219 in South Lake Tahoe for residents experiencing a mental health crisis. In an emergency, call 911.
For general information about El Dorado County Behavioral Health's services, call (530) 621-6290 in Placerville or (530) 573-7970 in South Lake Tahoe. More information can also be found online at www.edcgov.us/mentalhealth.
# # #