suicide rate
Suicide prevention street art. Photo via @juls_alejandro Twitter

San Diego County is stepping up efforts to prevent youth suicide, officials announced Wednesday.

The county’s Board of Supervisors approved tentative funding of $4.1 million Tuesday from the state Department of Public Health to “develop and test models for rapid reporting and comprehensive crisis response at the local level related to youth suicide and suicide attempts” for people under age 25.

The state could approve the funding during final budget deliberations, officials said. The pilot program could cover existing efforts, including the “It’s Up to Us” campaign used to increase public awareness and understanding of suicide and the issues surrounding it.

County Health and Human Services Agency officials said Tuesday that the program could help with developing new prevention methods, such as continued contact and follow-up care when a young person is thinking about committing suicide, attempts self-harm or ends up in a hospital emergency room after attempting suicide.

Officials said that while local suicide rates have trended down, county rates are still higher than state averages, and suicide “remained an urgent, growing problem that needs addressing.”

According to the county, the suicide rate in the 15-19 age bracket increased 29% between 2017 and 2021.

County Mobile Crisis Response Teams send experts to people suffering from a mental health crisis and connect them to professional care. There is also a 24/7 Access and Crisis line — 888-724-7240 — that lets people speak with a clinician.

City News Service contributed to this article.