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SLO County Behavioral Health raising awareness during National Suicide Prevention Month

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Posted at 8:08 PM, Sep 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-08 00:35:17-04

September is national Suicide Awareness Month and health experts are doing their part to help educate the community.

The Suicide Prevention Program which is funded by The Mental Health Services Act is teaming up with local companies to help spread awareness.

Tribe Coffeehouse in Arroyo Grande will join the efforts by helping hand out free suicide prevention coffee sleeves all next week.

"We care about the community and if anyone is in trouble, we want to support, to support people in any way," said Bret Pinkerton, the coffeehouse's owner.

The sleeves will provide hotline phone numbers and websites in English and Spanish.

San Luis Obispo has one of the higher rates per capita throughout the state and is still working on ways to better educate the community.

According to the San Luis Obispo Behavioral Health Department, some of the issues with getting the proper help in the county have to do with the kind of health insurance a patient has. Those with private insurance often have to leave the county for psychiatric services.

Another issue being the kind of reimbursement a mental health professional receives if they were to offer their services locally.

Health professionals in San Luis Obispo would be paid a "rural" reimbursement versus an "urban" reimbursement like Los Angeles or San Diego, which would essentially result in a smaller payout.

Alysia Hendry, the Suicide Prevention Coordinator for the department, says she is hopeful that with the proper information and increased shared data, the public will be more knowledgeable on how to detect early signs of someone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts.

"Hopefully people can get back connected again and just remember to talk to your neighbor and just check in on one another and remember that we are all human and we all go through something in our lives and sometimes we just need more support," added Hendry.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicide, please call the national suicide prevention lifeline toll-free number, 1-800-273-8255.