SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Suicides rose 5 percent in San Diego County in 2017 compared to 2016, according to an annual report released by the San Diego County Suicide Prevention Council.
The group represents several suicide awareness and prevention organizations throughout the County. A Thursday news conference at the San Diego County Administration Building downtown included a half-dozen speakers, including high school counselors and students.
While young people are the least at risk to actually take their own lives, they are still greatly impacted.
"They're one of the groups that's most impacted by suicide thoughts and attempts," said Stan Collins with the San Diego County Suicide Prevention Council. "About 20 percent of youth consider suicide and about 10 percent of youth attempt suicide."
Much of the focus during the news conference was urging awareness of suicide and learning how to recognize the signs of depression and separation that often precede someone attempting to end their own life.
While speakers emphasized there is no broad-spectrum approach to each individual case, a repeated theme was communication: being willing to talk openly to someone about what they're going through and truly listening to them.
It was also pointed out the group most at risk for suicides is middle-aged men. A group that may be having the most trouble sharing their feelings.
"What we need to do is have men create the space to have these types of conversations," said Collins. "If we want to be courageous as men we need to not be fearful of the word suicide."
In actual numbers there were 458 deaths by suicide last year in the County; 27 more than in 2016.
Asked why, Collins offered his own opinion, saying we live in stressful times and many people feel isolated. The prevention: communication, empathy, hope.
For more information about suicide, risk factors, warning signs, how to get help, resources and training: visit Up2SD.org or call the County’s Access and Crisis Line at 888-724-7240.