San Diego Takes A Stand Against Suicide, Launches Not On My Watch Campaign

Diana Hereld speaks with County Supervisor Ron Roberts regarding Not On My Watch campaign

Diana Hereld speaks with County Supervisor Ron Roberts regarding Not On My Watch campaign

In 2013, four hundred and thirteen suicides were reported in San Diego County, making it a record year in the region. Of these, seventy five percent were male, and twenty five percent were female. Given these statistics, County officials joined mental health providers and local higher education officials on Friday to remind the public that knowing the warning signs of suicide can help save someone’s life.

In 2010, the county launched the It’s Up To Us campaign to prevent suicide by raising awareness about the warning signs. The county is also supporting the Not On My Watch campaign aimed toward raising awareness concerning suicide prevention across college campuses in San Diego.

One of the central themes of the campaign is recognition- knowing how to identify signals and where to find help can make the difference between life and death. Most people who attempt or die by suicide show one or more indications prior to the attempt. People tend to think of suicide in association with feelings of hopelessness or powerlessness. These individuals may have recently experienced the loss of a job or loved one, ended a relationship, or lost their home. “Recognizing the warning signs is key to preventing someone from ending their life,” said Nick Macchione, director of the County Health and Human Services Agency.  “Suicide can be prevented. It’s important to know how to assist a suicidal person.”

Some warning signs of suicide include:

  • History of mental illness, such as major depression, Bipolar disorder, Schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Expressing a desire to hurt oneself or end one’s life
  • Divorce, separation, stress on family
  • Loss of health
  • Loss of home, job, or personal security
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Isolation from family or friends
  • Potentially reckless behavior, such as excessive spending or engaging in unsafe sex
  • Sudden calmness after a period of depression or moodiness
  • Undergoing a recent trauma or life crisis

“Suicide is doubly tragic because of the lives lost and the emotional heartbreak to family members and other loved ones,” said San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts. “To some, suicide may seem like the only solution to their problems. It is not. Help is available for anyone considering ending their lives.”

Regarding the lack of suicide awareness across the state, Roberts believes it us up to us to educate each other, spread the word, and combat the stigma of what is too oft treated as taboo.

“First of all, there is the issue of mental illness and the stigma-we accept going to a doctor to get better if you’re suffering from some type of physical illness. We don’t say that that person is chronically ill, so we need to do the same thing with mental health. The really important part of this is that we recognize those symptoms where friends can step in with a little help, and maybe make a connection. We have the services available. It’s a willingness to talk about it…There is hope, there is somewhere to turn.” 

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City of San Diego Prepares To Launch “Not on My Watch” Campaign

Colleges and Universities Say “Not on My Watch!”

Academic institutions band together in support of the “Not on My Watch” Campaign to prevent deaths by suicide among college students

Suicide Prevention Week will take place from September 8 – 14, 2013 in San Diego County.

The Suicide Prevention Council, convened by Community Health Improvement Partners (CHIP) and participants in its Higher Education Subcommittee have come together to host a myriad of the education, awareness and prevention activities at area colleges and universities in order to reduce suicide among student populations.

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center specifies that there are an estimated 1,100 students affiliated with colleges and universities across the country that die by suicide each year (http://www.sprc.org/collegesanduniversities/campus-data), and participating colleges’ and universities locally like the University of California at San Diego, the University of San Diego, San Diego State University, San Diego City College, Mira Costa College, California State University at San Marcos and Grossmont College want to send this prevention-campaign message to their respective student populations so that they are aware that there are quality resources available to students experiencing mental health problems associated with suicide.

On September 6th, County Supervisor Ron Roberts and Health and Human Services Agency Director Nick Macchione will kick-off Suicide Prevention Week at a “Not on My Watch” event at San Diego State University. While a variety of activities will take place over a one-week period, the San Diego County Suicide Prevention Council would like to highlight a series of events occurring Tuesday, September 10, 2013.  Activities occurring on Tuesday among participating college campuses/universities will range from noon-time table events/leaf-letting activities to special education workshops and/ community health resources fairs. At these activities they will be passing out ‘Not On My Watch’ kits that consist of wristband with the slogan on one side and the Access and Crisis Line on the other and additional resources, these kits were first created and used by Community Research Foundation and this year we are joining them to say ‘Not On My Watch.’  The September 10th events and activities for all six campuses are as follows:

 UCSD –Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Training in colleges Sixth from 10:30am-12:00pmMuir from 3:00pm-4:30pm University of San Diego- Involvement Fair- Alcala Bazaar in Torero Way (on campus) featuring a Suicide Prevention information table from 11:30am-2:30pm San Diego State University-Suicide Prevention ‘Not On My Watch’ Suicide  Prevention information table from 11:00am-1:30pm  
San Diego City College-Suicide Prevention Fair and Depression Screenings from 11:00am-1:00pm Mira Costa College- Not On My Watch Suicide Prevention Tabling in the Quad during College Hour from 12:00pm-1:15pm California State University San Marcos-“A Light in the Darkness” Day from 11:00am-1:00pm with a panel from 6:00pm-8:00pm
Grossmont College-Hosting a Wellness table with a focus on Suicide Prevention from 11:00am-1:00pm

Mental health problems that are associated with suicide and other adverse outcomes affect a substantial portion of college students.  These problems can negatively affect students’ academic performance and quality of life.  To build momentum for prevention efforts, campuses should start examining current research on campus suicide and mental health problems, and the associated consequences.

About the San Diego County Suicide Prevention Council:

Beginning in 1999, Community Health Improvement Partners (CHIP) facilitated the local Suicide Prevention Work Team. The Work Team disbanded in 2009 and in April 2010, CHIP contracted with the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency to facilitate a Suicide Prevention Action Plan Committee (SPAPC). The purpose of the SPAPC was to develop a Suicide Prevention Action Plan (SPAP) for San Diego County.  After the development of the SPAP in 2011, a Suicide Prevention Council (SPC) was formed to guide the implementation of the SPAP and ongoing efforts for stigma-reduction associated with mental health challenges.  CHIP facilitates monthly SPC meetings as well as related sub-committee meetings.

 

World Suicide Prevention Day 2013 – How You Can Help

 

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WHAT YOU CAN DO TO SUPPORT WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY

WORLD SUICIDE PREVENTION DAY, September 10th, is an opportunity for all sectors of the community – the public, charitable organizations, communities, researchers, clinicians, practitioners, politicians and policy makers, volunteers, those bereaved by suicide, other interested groups and individuals – to join with the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to focus public attention on the unacceptable burden and costs of suicidal behaviours with diverse activities to promote understanding about suicide and highlight effective prevention activities.

Those activities may call attention to the global burden of suicidal behaviour, and discuss local, regional and national strategies for suicide prevention, highlighting cultural initiatives and emphasising how specific prevention initiatives are shaped to address local cultural conditions.

Initiatives which actively educate and involve people are likely to be most effective in helping people learn new information about suicide and suicide prevention. Examples of activities which can support World Suicide Prevention Day include:

• Launching new initiatives, policies and strategies on World Suicide Prevention Day
• Learning about stigma, mental health and suicide prevention (http://goo.gl/rKr8G)
• Holding conferences, open days, educational seminars or public lectures and panels
• Using the WSPD Press Preparation Package that offers media guides (http://goo.gl/zLA3Sm)
• Writing articles for national, regional and community newspapers and magazines
• Holding press conferences
• Placing information on your website and using the IASP World Suicide Prevention Day banner, promoting suicide prevention
in one’s native tongue (www.iasp.info/wspd/2013_wspd_banner.php)
• Securing interviews and speaking spots on radio and television
• Organizing memorial services, events, candlelight ceremonies or walks to remember those who have died by suicide
• Asking national politicians with responsibility for health, public health, mental health or suicide prevention to make relevant
announcements, release policies or make supportive statements or press releases on WSPD
• Holding depression awareness events in public places and offering screening for depression
• Organizing cultural or spiritual events, fairs or exhibitions
• Organizing walks to political or public places to highlight suicide prevention
• Holding book launches, or launches for new booklets, guides or pamphlets
• Distributing leaflets, posters and other written information
• Organizing concerts, BBQs, breakfasts, luncheons, contests, fairs in public places
• Writing editorials for scientific, medical, education, nursing, law and other relevant journals
• Disseminating research findings
• Producing press releases for new research papers
• Holding training courses in suicide and depression awareness
• Using and sharing the Toolkit that contains WSPD resources and links to related Web sites (http://goo.gl/pWWo1r)

• Becoming a Facebook Fan of the IASP (www.facebook.com/IASPinfo)

• Showing your support for the Day on the Official World Suicide Prevention Day Event page on Facebook (www.facebook.
com/events/415169808532653/ by clicking “Attending”
• Following the IASP on Twitter (www.twitter.com/IASPinfo), tweeting #WSPD or #suicide or #suicideprevention
• Creating a video about suicide prevention (www.youtube.com/IASPinfo)
• Lighting a candle, near a window, at 8 PM in support of: World Suicide Prevention Day, suicide prevention awareness,
survivors of suicide and for the memory of loved lost ones. Find “Light a Candle Near a Window at 8 PM” postcards in over
40 languages at: http://www.iasp.info/wspd/light_a_candle_on_wspd_at_8PM.php
• Participating in the first World Suicide Prevention Day – Cycle Around the Globe (http://www.iasp.info/wspd/cycle_around_
the_globe.php)

If anyone in the greater Los Angeles area is interesting in organizing or attending an event or vigil, please do not hesitate to get in touch.