Shasta County suicide rate is double statewide average

Mental health and suicide are ongoing topics across the US and in the Northstate.

Finding new ways to address mental illness and suicide is a growing problem nationwide and the Northstate is no exception.

According to Shasta County Health and Human Service Agency, the county averages about 40 suicide deaths a year. That amounts to twice the statewide rate when measured by how many suicide deaths the county has per one hundred thousand people.

"There are many potential reasons as to why we have a high rate. One could be social isolation. We have a huge county that's very hard to travel across. We have high rates of poverty. It might be hard to get out and connect with others. We also have high rates of adverse childhood experiences," said Marc Dadigan, Supervising Community Education Specialist at Shasta County Health and Human Services.

Dadigan explained 50 percent of those deaths involved a firearm according to a study from 2015.

He said the service wants to make clear there's nothing wrong with owning a gun, but advocates for gun owners to take suicide prevention into account and store their guns safely.

Suicide is one of the most personal and difficult topics to discuss for people and the tenth leading cause of death in America, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Cherish Padro from Shasta County shared her story about almost taking her own life when she was a teenager. A topic most people aren't open to discussing.

"One day, I was super happy and on cloud 9, hanging out with my friends and the other days, my complete worst where I just wanted to die," said Padro. "From a young age, I grew up in a family where we were taught not to talk about our emotions."

Around the age of 15, those thoughts and feelings left her believing there was no way out.

"I remember having the breakdown in high school and eventually just saying 'I just, I want out.' That was it. There was no other way that I can see," said Padro.

Knowing she had the choice of taking her own life or reaching out for help, she chose to reach out.

"It was either go through the suicidal plan that I had or get help," said Padro. "My faith is really strong in God so that was a big part of it too. I know that my family loves me and I know that if I would've went through with that, it probably would've caused more hurt."

She said there is a misconception of those suffering from mental health issues.

"They think that that individual was really selfish and sometimes that's not even... that's not even a thought in that persons head at the time because there's so much going on inside that they're just looking for a way out," said Padro.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, on average there are 129 suicides per day in the US.

If you need someone to talk to, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK.

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