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Suicide Prevention Week can help reduce needless tragedy

Valuable resources available

OW Staff Writer | 9/11/2020, midnight

The city of Palmdale proclaimed Sept. 6-12 as “Suicide Prevention Awareness Week” to help inform the community of the issues and resources available.

“With all the stresses and strains we are all feeling under COVID-19, now more than ever we need to bring the issue of mental health to the forefront so that our community can become better informed of the resources that are available to help those who are struggling,” said Palmdale City Manager J.J. Murphy. “As a veteran, I am aware and concerned of the rise in suicides by current and former military personnel due to the crippling effects of COVID-19. It’s also saddening to see our young people battling with mental health issues when they have so much to live for at their age. We as a city want to do what we can to connect people with the help that is available.”

According to statistics, suicide remains the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 to 34. In 2018, over 48,000 people died by suicide in the nation with 1.4 million suicide attempts, and it has been the only leading cause of death that has increased every year for the past decade.

“What is even more tragic is that 90 percent of the people who die by suicide have a diagnosable and treatable mental health condition, although often that condition is not recognized or treated,” said Palmdale Mayor Steve Hofbauer.

The city has been hosting online mental health town hall meetings featuring experts in the field to provide an opportunity for residents to gain valuable tools for coping with mental health concerns, and a chance to lean on the support provided by those with knowledge and experience in the field.

The next mental health town hall is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 21, at 4 p.m. and will focus on youth. Interested persons may register by emailing info@cityofpalmdale.org and noting “Mental Health Town Hall” in the subject line. City staff will reply with the details for accessing the Zoom meeting.

Mental health resources are available on the city’s website at www.CityofPalmdale.org/mentalhealth. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources individuals, and best practices for professionals. The number is (800) 273-8255.

For more information, visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org.