Suicide Rate in Santa Clara County Declined for Three Consecutive Years

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 12, 2019

News Highlights

  • The suicide rate in Santa Clara County dropped to 6.95 suicides per 100,000 people in 2017. In 2016 the rate was 6.98 and 7.77 in 2015. 
  • Across the U.S., the suicide rate rose. In 2017 the U.S. suicide rate was 14.0 suicides per 100,000 people, compared to 13.0 in 2016 and 13.3 in in 2015. 
  • The California rate remains higher than in Santa Clara County, and has increased since 2015. The 2017 California suicide rate was 10.5 suicides per 100,000 people; the same rate of 10.5 per 100,000 people in 2016 and 10.3 per 100,000 people in 2015.

Santa Clara County, CA. While suicide rates have been rising in nearly every state, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the suicide rate in Santa Clara County has declined for three years in a row. 

In 2016, nearly 45,000 Americans age 10 or older died by suicide. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death and is one of just three leading causes that are on the rise.

Suicide is rarely caused by a single factor. Although suicide prevention efforts largely focus on identifying and providing treatment for people with mental health conditions, the County of Santa Clara Behavioral Health Services Department has focused on partnerships and other activities to promote suicide prevention. 

Media Availability:

Suicide Prevention Expert from Behavioral Health Services Department
Wednesday, June 12, 2019 from 10 am to 1 pm
Central Wellness, 2221 Enborg Lane, San Jose

Background

In Santa Clara County, numerous activities have taken place over the past few years to help prevent suicides. The Behavioral Health Services Department (BHSD) has led and/or participated in these efforts:

  • Schools Needs Assessment was conducted to gain insights into schools’ efforts on suicide prevention and mental health, and what was needed to better serve and support students, staff and families.
  • School District Partnerships between BHSD and seven Santa Clara County school districts developed suicide prevention and crisis response policies, Additionally, they planned, organized, and championed trainings for teachers and school staff; and BHSD provided experts on crisis response protocols and policies. 
  • School Trainings were held in seven school districts for all teachers and staff in grades 7-12. The training program is evidence-based, interactive and realistic with a focus on building knowledge and skills. BHSD also conducted on-site trainings for Crisis Response Teams.
  • Community Partnerships were strengthened or developed following the CDC report on youth suicides in our county. A series of meetings with community members, educators, law enforcement and behavioral health experts were held, and local activities took place in Palo Alto and Morgan Hill (cities with the highest rates of youth suicide). County-wide activities included expanding school linked services, implementing a suicide prevention campaign aimed at youth and establishing the Crisis Text Line. 
  • Community Trainings like Question. Persuade. Refer., provide community members the information and resources needed to help save lives. Trainings are available to community members in person and online.
  • Safe Storage of Guns ordinances were passed in the cities of San Jose, Morgan Hill, Saratoga and Sunnyvale. In addition to working on the ordinances, BHSD also conducted outreach to gun shops and provided them information about the warning signs of suicide, resources and what to do. Safe storage of guns helps to prevent easy access to a firearm when someone may be thinking of harming themselves. 
  • Community Outreach is conducted by staff and volunteers every month at community events. Information and resources are provided. BHSD also hosts events to further raise awareness and connect people in our community to resources. 
  • Community Awareness Campaigns have been conducted aimed at specific demographic groups who have higher rates of suicide or are at-risk. These include middle-aged men; adolescents and young adults; and older men. Research was conducted to better understand their views and misconceptions, and to determine messages that would be positively perceived and where they go for information or help. 
  • Mobile Crisis Response Teams were expanded to the general public to increase the response by BHSD to mental health emergencies in our community. Residents can now call 1-800-704-0900 selecting option #2 to request a Mobile Crisis Response Team response. 
  • Crisis Text Line was established to better serve those who prefer texting to making a phone call. Residents can now text RENEW to 741741. A digital and social media campaign is being conducted to raise awareness about the new text line. 
  • Safe Reporting on Suicides information is provided to members of the news media through trainings, emails and phone calls. The national Recommendations for Safe Reporting is included in these communications.

Resources are available to prevent suicides. For those who may be vulnerable or at-risk, call the Suicide & Crisis Hotline at 1-855-278-4204 or text RENEW to 741 741.  Community members can get training to help prevent suicides at www.sccbhsd.org/suicideprevention. It is also important to Know the Signs, learn more at suicideis​preventable.org​​

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