In 2020, there were just under 46,000 suicides in the United States, making it the nation’s 12th-leading cause of death. California’s suicide rate is 10.7 per 100,000, compared to 13.4 nationally. Suicide rates across the United States have been increasing and are now double homicide rates. Obviously, more can be done to end this ongoing tragedy.
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and this session I co-authored Assembly Concurrent Resolution 37, declaring Sept. 5 through Sept. 11 Suicide Prevention Week in California.
While suicide rates are the highest among people from 45 to 54 years of age, rates among youth 15 to 24 have increased more than 200% in the last 50 years. Among veterans, every day an estimated 22 commit suicide – that’s one veteran every 65 minutes. By calling attention to the problem, raising awareness about warning signs when they are present, by eliminating the stigma associated with mental illness and by providing resources for those needing help, we can save thousands of lives.
The State of California has established a Suicide Prevention Program through the Department of Health Care services, along with multiple local and statewide projects resulting from passage of the Mental Health Services Act (Prop. 63), approved by voters in 2004.
Beginning this July, the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline went operational across the country. Dial 988 to be connected with qualified and trained responder/counselors with access to multiple resources for those in distress. Veterans needing help and support can access the veterans help line by dialing 988, and then pressing 1.
Suicide can be prevented – help is available. We just need to get the word out.