San Rafael, CA – If all goes according to plan, taking a five-minute online survey will help the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) learn more about the sensitive issue of suicide prevention in Marin County.
In 2017, Marin’s suicide prevention hotline received over 6,700 calls (just over 18 calls per day) from residents reaching out for support.
Marin HHS’ Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Division is sharing the survey
through February 25, to help it develop a Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan.
“Our goal is clear – to reduce, if not eliminate, local suicide attempts and deaths,” said Dr. Jei Africa, who leads the Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Division. “Once we have a better understanding of people’s experiences and analyze the survey results, we believe we can create strategies to increase service coordination and strengthen our existing support networks.
In 2017, the most recent year for which Marin HHS has statistics, there were 42 deaths by suicide Marin residents. Men and boys accounted for 74 percent of all deaths by suicide among county residents from 2013-2017.
From 2014-2016, the crude death rate from suicide for California was 10.7 deaths per 100,000 population, equivalent to approximately one suicide for every 9,328.8 persons, according to the California Department of Public Health. Among all 58 California counties with reliable rates, the crude death rate ranged from 26.4 in Humboldt County to 7.8 in San Mateo County. Marin ranked 26th of all counties with 15.1 deaths by suicide per 100,000 residents.
Africa said Marin HHS is engaging residents in the planning process through the survey because, “Suicide is not always talked about. There is so much stigma and shame around this issue, and yet so many individuals and families are affected by the experience. We’d like to change the outcomes of those who are in need, of those who are suffering. We know that suicide is preventable, and we need to come together as a community to help address it.”
Marin HHS collaborates with San Rafael-based Buckelew Programs to provide suicide prevention services. The hotline – 415-499-1100 – provides around-the-clock free and confidential support for people in distress. It offers crisis support for those in distress, resources for loved ones, and best practices for professionals. In 2017, the hotline received over 6,700 calls (just over 18 calls per day) from residents reaching out for support. The program can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org as well.
Africa recently spoke about suicide prevention and the survey on KWMR-FM's "Epicenter" program.
Marin HHS maintains a webpage about suicide prevention and has much more information about mental health on www.marinhhs.org.