The Orange County Board of Supervisors announced that it has committed $600,000 of Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) monies for the creation of a countywide suicide prevention program. This funding will be given to MindOC, the fiscal entity of Be Well Orange County, an initiative bringing together public, private, academic and faith-based organizations, as well as others, to create a coordinated system of mental healthcare and support for all Orange County residents.
“As Chairwoman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, it is my duty and responsibility to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of all Orange County residents. My heart goes out to families who feel they don’t have resources to help their loved ones. I want to let our constituents know that they are not alone and there is hope,” said Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett, Fifth District Supervisor.
In recent years, suicide rates and mental health related hospitalizations have increased throughout Orange County. The County’s per-capita rate of suicide increased 45 percent between the three-year periods of 1999 to 2001 and 2011 to 2013. This compares to an average increase of 22 percent nationwide during the same time frame, and was the largest increase in any metropolitan county in the U.S.
“Addressing mental health in our county has never been more important than right now. We need to expand our mental health services and make our community aware that there is help, and where there is help, there is hope,” said Supervisor Andrew Do, First District.
During FY 2018/19, the Orange County MHSA Steering Committee supported the recommendation to expand school-based suicide prevention campaigns and activities for students in grades K-12, as well as for transitional-age youth in higher educational and other settings. The Committee also supported several other recommendations targeting underserved individuals throughout the life span, including strategies to increase timely access to services and to promote recovery and resilience, thereby preventing suicide.
“It is my hope that MindOC helps make a greater difference in the lives of our residents. There are three words to remember: Every life matters,” said Supervisor Doug Chaffee, Fourth District.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for children and youth between the ages of 10 and 24. In Orange County, teen suicides averaged 13.3 deaths per year over the past 10-year period. Suicide is a leading cause of non-natural death for youth and teenagers between the ages of 10 and 19 years old.
In Orange County, suicides accounted for 29% of non-natural deaths, making it the second leading cause of non-natural death behind motor vehicle collisions. This is higher than the statewide average in California, in which 22% of deaths among teens were due to suicides.
For more information about suicide prevention, visit OC Health Care Agency at: http://www.ochealthinfo.com/suicideprevention.
This article was released by the County of Orange.