Contra Costa County Approves Suicide Prevention Plan

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CONTRA COSTA COUNTY (KCBS)— The Contra Costa County board of supervisors unanimously voted Tuesday to adopt the Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan that has been two years in the making.

Before the vote, Contra Costa Behavioral Health Services Mental Health Program Supervisor and co-chair of the Suicide Prevention Committee Gerold Loenicker addressed supervisors.

He said the plan identifies strategies for preventing what is a widely overlooked public health problem.

“In Contra Costa County, on average, 112 residents die by suicide every year. Many more attempt suicide or contemplate taking their own lives,” Loenicker said.

Contra Costa Crisis Center founder Rhonda James said her group; the county, local hospitals and community-based organizations did two years of analysis to form the plan that has four key strategies.

The first is to improve protocols for screening, assessment and triage of individuals at risk.

“The second is a promotion of information about practices that reduce access to lethal means. We know that’s one of the largest, preventable areas that we can address with folks who are at risk,” said James.

The plan also calls for increased collaboration between county systems and community service providers and the ongoing study of local data to help form future strategy.

The committee will now work on developing programs based on the plan in the project funded through the Mental Health Services Act.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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