New Coordinator Kicks Off Suicide Prevention Month

Author: Behavioral Health Department
Date: 9/14/2018 10:52:22 AM

September is Suicide Prevention Month and the County of San Luis Obispo’s Behavioral Health Department welcomes Alysia Hendry as its new Suicide Prevention Coordinator. The new position has been funded as part of the County’s Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) work plan and will provide outreach and education throughout the county to address the growing impact of suicide in our communities.

California has an overall lower rate of suicide compared to other states across the nation, yet SLO county has one of the higher rates per capita throughout the state. According the to the California Department of Public Health, the county has a higher rate of suicide than Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego Counties, respectively. Stigma surrounding mental health issues and suicide remains prevalent and acts as a barrier that prevents individuals from seeking help.

Suicide Prevention Month activities include outreach events at local farmer’s markets, a week of social media tips for supporting loved ones, suicide awareness partnerships with local retail outlets and coffee shops, and a Board of Supervisors proclamation on September 18.

Hendry is a San Luis Obispo High School graduate, who completed a bachelor’s degree at University of Southern California, and a Master’s in Health and Strategic Communication at Chapman University. The Suicide Prevention Coordinator position will focus on educating the community about resources available throughout the county for those experiencing thoughts of suicide, or other mental health issues that indicate somebody might be at risk of suicide.  By providing trainings in Mental Health First Aid, QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer), and mental health education workshops, Hendry hopes to reframe mental health and suicide in the county with a message of hope, healing, and a community effort to support neighbors in need.

For more information, please contact Frank Warren, Prevention & Outreach Division Manager and MHSA Coordinator (805) 788-2055; [email protected]