Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus and Commissioner of Mental Health and Social Services Darcie Miller are recognizing National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, which is observed each year in September.
“People with mental health issues often feel isolated and alone,” Neuhaus said. “I’m proud that Orange County offers a variety of excellent resources to help. The county’s dedicated Mental Health Staff, under Darcie Miller’s leadership, work hard to provide awareness and the necessary resources.”
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. It is the second-leading cause of death for 10-34-year-olds. On average, 132 Americans die by suicide each day. In 2017, the suicide rate was 1.5 times higher for veterans than for non-veteran adults over the age of 18.
“It is not only the Afghanistan or Iraqi veterans that are susceptible to suicide, unfortunately all veterans of war are susceptible,” Neuhaus said. “It’s an issue in all segments of society, and Suicide Prevention Month gives us another opportunity to bring awareness to this important public health issue.”
What you can do
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers the following suggestions for talking with someone at risk of suicide:
· Speak openly and honestly about your concern. Asking someone directly if they are considering suicide often provides relief.
· Be willing to listen with compassion and without judgment.
· Offer to help find support and assistance. Someone who is considering suicide often cannot see solutions to their problems.
· If you can, accompany the person to a hospital, an emergency room, a therapist, a member of the clergy, or other support who can help.
· Do not promise secrecy.
· Remove means of suicide or separate the person from the means if you can do so safely.
· After you’ve helped the individual connect with someone who can help, check in with them, remain involved and supportive as you can.
“Recognizing the signs of suicide can help to save lives,” Miller said. “Given the right information, everyone can intervene to get help for suicidal or at-risk family members, friends or acquaintances. Help is just a phone call away for residents who feel overwhelmed or think someone close to them is at risk.”
Miller said that during the COVID-19 pandemic it is even more important, as residents try to protect our mental health and cope with uncertainty, it’s more important to take steps to prevent suicide.
For more information and resources, go to afsp.org/keepgoing.
Miller noted that Orange County has a variety of suicide prevention resources for residents:
· The Orange County Crisis Call Center is available to any individual who has a Substance Use Disorder, Developmental Disabilities, and/or Mental Illness, and to their loved ones, by dialing 311.
· If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911 immediately.
· If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255).