Shasta County professionals emphasize suicide is preventable

2-1-1 NorCal Operations, 24/7 available resources

With the recent, high-profile deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, suicide prevention is a topic health educators can't emphasize enough. The Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency says people should remember suicide is preventable.

Health Educator, Amy Sturgeon, says Shasta County faces a high suicide rate. The county is consistently higher than the national average and sits at twice the state average.

Many people, Sturgeon added, lack the knowledge of where to get help or how to find the proper resources, which is discouraging and may cause them to lose hope or not seek help at all. She said it's up to you to look out for your loved ones, by communicating with them.

"Don't be afraid to have that conversation. Don't be afraid to say the word [suicide]. You can ask somebody, are you thinking about suicide?" Sturgeon said, "As long as we're being non-judgmental, it actually lowers that anxiety for them and in turn lowers the result of an impulsive act."

Statements of hopelessness, excessive tiredness, and often phrases that imply the world would be a better place without them are key warning signs. An added factor is when a person may resort to alcohol or drug use.

"Substance abuse is a pretty strong indicator that they're medicating some pretty significant pain," Sturgeon claimed.

If you or a loved one are seeking help, United Way of Northern California CEO, Larry Olmstead, said 2-1-1 NorCal offers social services or other resources on their website. However, by calling 2-1-1 or texting your zip code to "TXT211", a live operator will provide you with the proper service. Their assistance is available 24-7, in multiple languages.

"Our specialists are trained to listen for signs of crisis. They're trained to look for the key root problems that are behind the reason for the call," Olmstead reiterated calls are confidential, non-judgmental and they'll get you to the help you need.

For mental health services, the Hill Country C.A.R.E. FACILITY is a newer facility, located at 1401 Gold Street, in Redding.

Hours are: Monday-Friday 2 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Saturday-Sunday & Holidays 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

To get in touch with a trained crisis counselor, Text LISTEN to 741741.

For the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

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