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Encouraging Signs In New Report On San Diego County Suicides

San Diego County Suicide Prevention Council presents 2016 county suicide rate...

Photo by Kenny Goldberg

Above: San Diego County Suicide Prevention Council presents 2016 county suicide rates, Sept. 6, 2017.

According to the latest report, 431 people died by suicide in San Diego County in 2016. That is up slightly compared to the previous year.

The annual report from the San Diego County Suicide Prevention Council reveals the suicide rate has fallen to a five-year low.

At a press conference to present the latest findings, council officials cited other encouraging trends.

For instance, 1,937 San Diegans received special training in 2016 to recognize the warning signs for suicide, and how to help someone who may be at risk.

Suicide Prevention Council member Stan Collins said in order to prevent suicide, people need to talk about it.

“There’s a lot of people in our community who are experiencing pain and don’t feel hope that pain will go away," Collins said. "And so, to identify suicide, to be able to talk about it as something that’s preventable, we need to just start with a conversation. And that starts with ‘are you thinking about suicide, and what can I do to help?’”

Photo credit: Kenny Goldberg

The San Diego Access & Crisis Line is staffed around-the-clock year-round to help people who feel they're in a hopeless situation.

Another resource is the San Diego County Access & Crisis Line, — (888) 724-7240. It’s staffed around-the-clock to help people who are feeling hopeless.

Collins said people in crisis should not feel embarrassed about asking for help.

“I think in our society we have this mentality that asking for help is a weakness," he said. "And I’ve learned in the many struggles of my life that seeking help and knowing when to ask for help shows self-awareness and shows strength. And so I think we really need to change the mentality, because we’re all willing to help those in our lives, so why would we think they’re not willing to help us?”

The report finds that 60 San Diego County men in their 20s died by suicide in 2016. County health officials said that's an unusually high number in that age group.

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