KERN COUNTY, Calif. — September is national suicide prevention month. The month aiming to make the public more aware of the problem of suicide.
Officials say suicide is one of the most preventable causes of death, but still, the CDC says suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. since 2008.
"Suicide affects everybody and you don't have to have a mental illness, life is hard," said Ellen Eggert, who is the Program Support Supervisor at the Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Hotline.
The hotline is open 24/7 and provides crisis counseling and suicide intervention among other services. This is the first suicide prevention month since the CDC came out with some unsettling new statistics in November.
"In the United States it's risen about 33 percent, and for our youth, 10 to 14 year old females, it's risen about 50 percent. So we're at a crucial point," Eggert said.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline says that by starting the conversation, providing support, and directing help to those who need it, suicide can be prevented.
"You know suicide is about unbearable pain, relationship issues, something maybe in the future that seems like it's going to be unbearable but as a community we need to become suicide aware," Eggert said.
Some events going on around Kern County to raise awareness include a city-wide suicide awareness training in Tehachapi on Thursday. It will be in the Aspen Builders Inc. Activity Center at 6 p.m.
In Bakersfield, the Stomp Out Suicide Walk will take place on Saturday morning at Beach Park.
World suicide prevention day is Tuesday September 10. Eggert encourages the public to light a blue candle and put it in their front window in memory of all those lost to suicide.
"Even though we're at a bad point, there's hope in that suicide is one of the most preventable causes of death," she said.
Officials say there have been 82 suicides in Kern County this year, which is on pace to exceed the total number last year, which was 102. If you or someone you know needs help, you can call the Kern Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Hotline at 800-991-5272.