Photo via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

By Dave Roberts

The Suicide Prevention Council issued its annual report last week, and it shows that while the suicide rate in San Diego County held steady in 2015 the number of calls for help went up.

This is encouraging news, and I am pleased to join the council in raising awareness about suicide prevention and the help that is available for anyone who needs it.

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I have participated in many of the council’s meetings and have seen the dedication, intelligence and experience that committee members bring to the panel.

In its 2016 report, the council drilled in on high-risk populations, including youth who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning; Native Americans and Alaska Natives; and military service members and veterans.

The report states that LGBTQ youth are up to seven times more likely to have attempted suicide than their non-LGBTQ peers.

For Native Americans and Alaska Natives from 10 to 34 years of age, suicide is the second-leading cause of death, the report states.

Dave Roberts
Dave Roberts

And for members of our military and military veterans, the suicide rate is nearly 58 per 100,000. That well exceeds the national statistic of 40 suicides per 100,000 people or San Diego County’s rate of 13.2 suicides per 100,000 people.

A copy of the full report is available online.

A bright spot among these dark statistics is that San Diegans are doing more to get help.

Calls to the Access & Crisis hotline are on the rise and visits to the It’s Up to Us suicide prevention website have increased by 57 percent.

I salute the council for doing so much to raise awareness about suicide prevention in our county. And I appreciate the Board of Supervisors and the county’s administration for making greater-than-ever investments in behavioral health services this year.

But beyond the meeting rooms, and our suicide-prevention campaigns on print, broadcast and social media, it is up to us — individuals, friends, loved ones and coworkers —  to be a part of the solution.

By knowing the signs and speaking up, any one of us could save a life.

Call the Access & Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240 or visit the It’s Up to Us, San Diego website

Dave Roberts represents the Third District on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. Subscribe to his weekly e-newsletter at