County of San Luis Obispo Raises Awareness During Suicide Prevention Month

Author: Behavioral Health Department
Date: 8/27/2019 2:11:05 PM

County of San Luis Obispo Behavioral Health Department is raising awareness of suicide prevention during the month of September.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and is the second leading cause of death for individuals between the ages of 15-34 years old. San Luis Obispo County’s suicide rate is well above the State of California’s average. Older adults 61 years and older, including veterans, are one of the higher risk groups for suicide locally.

The Behavioral Health Department collaborates with several local agencies to reduce suicide by increasing culturally sensitive services, messaging, and community-based efforts that engage all members of the county. Efforts aim to not only reach the individual who might be at risk, but also their social networks, workplaces, families, neighborhoods, schools, and places of worship. Learning how to recognize the warning signs of suicide, knowing how to talk to someone, and identifying where to turn to for support are key skills in preventing suicide.

“There is hope for our county, for our community, for all of us. Through advocacy and public education, I know that our communities will get to a point where we notice those who are struggling and feel confident to reach out, show compassion, hear their stories, and provide support and encouragement through their recovery,” said Alysia Hendry, Behavioral Health Department Suicide Prevention Program Coordinator. “It can be scary, intimidating, and feel strange to ask someone if they are thinking about suicide, but that very question can save someone’s life."

The Suicide Prevention Program, funded by the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA), has coordinated several efforts across the county to educate and offer support to those struggling with suicide. The program will be hosting booths at the Templeton and Avila Beach Farmers Markets on September 7th and September 13th respectively. Several coffee shops including Tribe Coffee House in Arroyo Grande and Spearhead Coffee Roasters in Paso Robles will be participating this month by handing out suicide prevention coffee sleeves. All events will lead up to the County’s annual Suicide Prevention Forum, which will be held on Wednesday, October 2nd at the Paso Park Cinemas and will feature a screening of the documentary, ‘The S Word’.

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

For more information, please contact Alysia Hendry (805) 781-1357 or [email protected]