September Is National Suicide Prevention Month
September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and San Diego County is one of the few counties in California to have a strategic plan to help prevent suicides. That's according to Stan Collins, a suicide prevention specialist for the San Diego County Suicide Prevention Council, who spoke with KPBS Midday Edition about the resources offered in the county.
"We're really fortunate that county Behavioral Health really invests in suicide prevention, from the Up2Us campaign, to a school-based project and the council. Over the past few years, there's nine strategies outlined in that plan, and we've been able to build upon each of those layers," Collins said. "What we're really trying to do is get everyone to understand, that each of us is just one spoke in the wheel, but no one entity can prevent suicide, and it's really about getting people outside of mental health and outside of suicide prevention to really embrace their role and empower them to understand that every one of us can help someone find their reasons for living."
Collins said one way to help someone struggling with mental health is to empower the individual. "First recognize warning signs, and then to be comfortable to have a conversation, and to ask the question and not be afraid to say 'are you thinking about suicide?'" Collins said. "We have a lot of fears about if we talk about it, we're going to cause it to happen, and the opposite is true. Only by talking openly and directly about suicide can we ever hope to prevent it."
According to an annual report released earlier this month by the San Diego County Suicide Prevention Council, the number of reported suicides in San Diego County declined slightly in 2020, compared to the previous year.
If you have an emergency, or just want to find out what help is available, you can call the San Diego Access and Crisis Line: at (888) 724-7240.