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How To Talk To Someone Who’s Thinking About Suicide

Aired 9/10/13 on KPBS News.

A record number of people committed suicide in San Diego County last year, 413 to be exact. But why?

A series of events at a number of college campuses takes place today in connection with "Not on My Watch," the county's suicide prevention campaign. A record number of people committed suicide in San Diego County last year, 413 to be exact. But why?

KPBS Morning Edition anchor Deb Welsh spoke with County Behavioral Health Services Director Alfredo Aguirre, who says one of the prime causes is untreated depression.

A: The research does show that often it's the case where untreated depression. For example, the risk of suicide increases dramatically. If someone is not being treated, how do we work as a community to increase basically the ability to and the capacity to support people who are depressed or thinking or contemplating suicide?

Q: Is there a way to change their thinking if they are thinking about taking their life?

A: We have been conducting what we call QPR trainings. That stands for question, persuade, refer. For example, if you have a loved one who is thinking about ending their life, it's important to ask them if that is the case. It is important to be as direct as possible.

Q: And if they say 'yes' to your question?

A: Then, I think guiding them, all the numbers whether its 211 or the access and crisis line, or maybe I can accompany them to talk to you pastor. Whatever that person is comfortable with.

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