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San Diego suicides leveling off

Jose A. Alvarez

County of San Diego Communications Office

After several years of continued increases, the number of people who commit suicide in the San Diego region has remained relatively the same.

According to the San Diego County Suicide Prevention Council’s recently released 2017 Report to the Community, there were 431 deaths by suicide in 2016, four more than the previous year.

“People are learning about the warning signs of suicide and reaching out for help,” county Supervisor Greg Cox said. “We hope we can turn the tide and that the number of suicides begins to drop until we have no suicides in San Diego County.”

The report provides a comprehensive look at suicide in the region and brings together data from multiple sources for the years 2012 through 2016.

Among the suicide report’s findings, the total number of suicides was 431 cases compared to 427 cases in 2015.

Emergency department discharges due to self-inflicted injury increased to 3,348 cases in 2015, which was the most recent year available, compared to 3,263 cases in 2014.

The percentage of crisis calls to the county’s Access and Crisis Line dropped to 7 percent in 2016 versus 25.8 percent in 2015.

Visits to the county’s suicide prevention website, It’s Up to Us, increased to 246,273 visits in 2016 versus 210,663 visits in 2015.

Number of students who seriously considered suicide was listed at 14.5 percent in 2016 versus 17.5 percent in 2014; the data are gathered every other year.

People who participated in suicide prevention training decreased to 1,937 in 2016 versus 2,747 in 2015.

“Preventing people from ending their life and helping them get help for a mental illness are part of the county’s Live Well San Diego vision of healthy, safe and thriving residents,” Dr. Michael Krelstein, clinical director of Behavioral Health Services at the county Health and Human Services Agency, said.

To help curb suicide in San Diego, the county has several ongoing prevention efforts, including the It’s Up to Us campaign, the Question, Persuade and Refer trainings and the Access and Crisis Line, a confidential counseling and referral hotline for people who feel overwhelmed or are experiencing a mental health crisis.

Suicide can happen to anyone. That is why it is important to learn the warning signs, risk factors and behavioral cues of people considering ending their lives.

For more information about suicide, risk factors, warning signs, how to get help, resources and training that is available, visit It’s Up to Us at call the county’s Access and Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240.


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