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OC Health Care Agency releases reports on suicide deaths

The OC Health Care Agency (HCA) today released the “2014 – 2018 Suicide Deaths in Orange County, California” report, available online at www.ochealthinfo.com/suicidereport, which analyzes data sourced from the State of California’s Department of Public Health Death Statistical Master File and Vital Records Business Intelligence System.

Orange County tends to have lower suicide rates compared to the nation and state of California; in fact, it has never exceeded national rate of suicide death for the past two decades. “Orange County is truly a county that cares,” said Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett, Fifth District Supervisor. “The Be Well OC Suicide Prevention Leadership Committee has been meeting monthly to discuss suicide prevention priorities in OC in addition to aligning and expanding current efforts. We want every Orange County resident to know there are resources available and exactly how to receive help — because with help, there is hope.”

An average of 330 OC residents have died by suicide each year over the past five years. Most suicidal people show some signs that they are thinking about suicide. You can learn the warning signs at www.ochealthinfo.com/suicideprevention to be prepared to step in and speak up.

OC’s suicide rate has been steadily increasing about 1.3 percent per year since 2000, and reached an all-time high of 10.8 suicide deaths per 100,000 population in 2018. “Suicide is a serious public health problem that requires everyone to take action,” said Supervisor Andrew Do, First District, who has focused on reforming the County’s mental health system. “If you are thinking about suicide, you’re not alone. Help is out there. It’s free, completely confidential, and available 24/7.”

Middle-aged and older adults continue to be most at-risk groups with the highest numbers and rates of suicide. “With the first Be Well OC campus in my district, mental health care will be treated as a priority, not an afterthought,” said Supervisor Donald P. Wagner, Third District. “Behavioral and mental health issues will not be seen as someone else’s burden but as a challenge we share in together. A person’s life may depend on how easily they can access well-monitored mental care health services, especially if medication changes are involved. There is no shame in seeking help; the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) is one resource dedicated to seeing people through their struggles. No one should feel they have to save their face to save their life — let’s work together to break the stigma for a healthier Orange County.”

Additional key findings from the report include:

  • Non-Hispanic Whites died by suicide in the highest numbers. Compared to all other races and ethnicities, they accounted for 68 percent of all suicide deaths in OC.
  • 75 percent of those who died by suicide in Orange County were male.
  • Coastal cities tended to have higher rates of suicide deaths. The higher rates of suicide deaths in these cities are correlated with the higher populations of adults 55 years and older and Non-Hispanic White residents.

Support is available for those in our community who have lost a loved one to suicide and those who have survived a suicide attempt, including crisis support bereavement groups. Please call 855-OC-LINKS (855-625-4657) to learn more.

The article above was released by the Orange County Health Care Agency.