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September is Suicide Prevention Month

Local organizations are holding various events
To simplify calling for help, last year Congress passed – and the president has now signed - a bill to set aside what will be a new three-digit suicide prevention hotline – 988. It is supposed to launch in July of next year.
Posted at 8:28 AM, Sep 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-09 12:10:43-04

September is National Suicide Awareness and Prevention Month. According to Santa Barbara County, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 34 in California.

According to San Luis Obispo County, there were 58 cases of suicide and in Santa Barbara County, they reported 36 for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

“Suicide Awareness Month and September aims to increase awareness and to reduce the stigma of mental health so that more people can talk about mental health, so that more people can get the help that they need when they're having thoughts of suicide,” said Suzanne Grimmesey, MFT, and the chief of strategy and community engagement with the Santa Barbara County Department of Behavioral Wellness.

This month, organizations are hosting prevention and awareness events.

In Santa Barbara County:

  • 9/10 - Suicide Prevention Virtual Vigil Sponsored by HopeNet Carpinteria
  • 9/13 - Suicide Prevention Month Resolution in the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, Hearing Room
  • 9/21 - Free webinar regarding the launch of 988 by the Glendon Association
  • Ongoing Pacific pride Foundation PROUD Youth and Older Adult Groups - call (805) 963-3636, ext 103

In San Luis Obispo County:

  • 9/12 - Suicide Prevention Forum at the San Luis Obispo United Methodist Church, 1515 Fredericks St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93405
  • 9/24 - Knowing You Matter at 5pm-8pm at Grace Bible Church, 100 Rodeo Dr, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420
  • 9/30 - Suicide Prevention Summit

For Grief Support, SLO County offers resources here and Santa Barbara County here.

“From the height of the pandemic until now, our rates of suicide have gone down locally, but we still remain vigilant because there's been a lot of impact within our Santa Barbara County as a result of the pandemic,” said Grimmesey.

One in four people between the ages of 18 and 24 considered suicide because of the pandemic, according to the CDC.

988 is the Federal Suicide and Crisis Lifeline which can provide immediate intervention, and Santa Barbara County also has an access line where people can receive resources at (888) 868-1649.

“Our access line is... can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It's operated through the Department of Behavioral Wellness. People can call that line if they are seeking support for themselves, for someone else,” said Grimmesey.

She went on to say that oftentimes, children take on the role of supporting their friends or their peers.

“If a child or a teen notices another who they're worried about, maybe struggling with depression or contemplating suicide, they should absolutely tell an adult, a trusted adult and get help. And for some, that might be a family member. For some it might be a school teacher, it might be a coach, it might be a youth group leader, but a trusted adult,” added Grimmesey.

She said the best thing friends and family members can do if they are concerned about someone's well-being is to talk to them, and if they are open, to help connect them with resources.