-Suicide is an epidemic in Tulare County” Bev Anderson declared during the 210 Connect this last Monday at the 210 CafÃ© located in downtown Visalia. -I’ve been shocked with not only the teens, but the adults affected.” Forty people in Tulare County alone died in 2009 as a result of suicide nearly 93% being men. Although suicide is something that can be prevented through therapy and counseling Anderson admits that -unfortunately, there is a tremendous stigma”.
Since 1994 Tulare County has averaged nearly 30 suicides a year, 2007 having the highest amount of suicides with 51. According to Sgt. Tom Wright most of the suicides involved the use of a firearm.
However much of the focus of the forum was on what can be done in suicide prevention. Included among the options of suicide prevention is a twenty for hour hotline (1-800-320-1616) that specializes in local matters, and a national hotline (1-800-273-8255).
LGBT youth in particular are at a high risk for suicide being four times more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual youth. There are many factors that contribute to this, among them being a heightened risk of substance abuse and rejection from family and friends. The Trevor Project, who was represented at the forum, is working to provide awareness and support for sexual minority youth. Sexual minority youth who have a at least one school staff member with who they feel they can talk to are only 1/3 as likely to attempt suicide as opposed to those who don’t. Studies have also shown that sexual minority youth are less likely to attempt suicide with a strong support system behind them. The Trevor Helpline is a 24 hour helpline (886-4-U-TREVOR) is the first and only suicide hotline available to LGBTQ youth. The Trevor Project also provides resources to parents and educators in the matter of suicide prevention.