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Kern County officials push suicide prevention

Presentation during Tuesday's supervisors' meeting
Posted: 11:33 AM, Jun 12, 2018
Updated: 2018-06-12 14:40:00-04

Suicide prevention is on the mind of Kern County officials Tuesday, as representatives from the Health Department spoke to supervisors following two celebrity suicides last week.

Officials said, last year in Kern County 110 people died from suicide. Of those 110, 7 were under the age of 20.

The purpose of Tuesday's presentation is to get the community more engaged and talking about suicide prevent, as well as getting people thinking about committing suicide the help they need.

Bill Walker, who is the Director of the Mental Health Department said, suicides are on the rise and are the most preventable cause of death in our community.

Walker also updated the supervisors on what his department is doing locally. He said their hotline received over 30,000 call last year, they have a mobile unit to go to other parts of Kern County and he also addressed a new program Kern County is working on called Zero Suicide to address suicide prevent head on.

"Zero Suicide is an evidence based campaign that works with multiple agencies, healthcare, family doctors to make the awareness of suicide privacies, strong and reduce suicides," said Walker.

Ellen Eggert, who is the program supervisor for Kern Behavioral Health Services Hotline, added, "We need to get involved and not assume that someone else is going to. What's going on? Are you OK? And ask that question, are you thinking about suicide?"

The number to the toll-free 24-hour suicide prevention hotline is 1-800-991-5272. Although it's a 1-800 number Walker said that number will go to a local call center. And the most important thing you can do to help is to ask and listen.