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Riverside County takes action to address suicide

Today, Riverside University Health System (RUHS) – Behavioral Health and RUHS – Public Health filed a new suicide prevention strategic plan with the Riverside County Board of Supervisors called Building Hope and Resiliency – A Collaborative Approach to Suicide Prevention in Riverside County.

“With the strategic plan we have formally adopted, we are launching a countywide effort and coalition to prevent suicide and save lives in Riverside County,” said Riverside County Board Chair and Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez. “I commend our departments of Behavioral Health and Public Health, and the Riverside County Office of Education which engaged with the county to develop this plan.”

The board recognized September 2 through September 6 as National Suicide Prevention Week and also recognized the entire month of September as National Recovery Month, dedicated to increasing awareness of substance use disorders and honoring the people who are thriving in recovery.

The plan includes 10 strategic approaches that were identified through research, a review of Riverside County specific data and input solicited from more than 55 individuals and 33 agencies representing community stakeholders, including local school districts, community partners, behavioral health professionals, the Riverside County Office of Education, and others.

The next steps include the development of a suicide prevention coalition that will bring the plan to life and advance the effort in reducing suicide in Riverside County.

“This strategic plan represents countless hours of effort among people who are committed to decreasing the tragic loss and heartbreak of suicide,” said Dr. Matthew Chang, director of RUHS – Behavioral Health. “It provides a solid foundation for making real progress that will ultimately lead to a reduction of suicides in Riverside County.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading overall cause of death in the United States. Suicides in Riverside County have increased 30 percent between 2007 and 2017, according to health officials.

Suicide Prevention Week and Recovery Month both provide an opportunity for individuals, organizations and communities to join their voices and broadcast the message that suicide can be prevented, and recovery is possible.

This year’s Suicide Prevention awareness theme, “Hope, Resilience, & Recovery,” is about encouraging the intersection between suicide prevention, alcohol and drug use and efforts that foster resilience and
recovery.

To view the suicide prevention strategic plan and join the effort to prevent suicide in Riverside County, click here. Immediate assistance can be obtained through Riverside County’s local Suicide Prevention Crisis Line at 951-686-HELP. For more information on accessing behavioral health services, contact the RUHS-Behavioral Health Access Line at 800-706-7500.

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