Santa Clara County reeling from a mental health crisis, reveals report

It seems Santa Clara County in California is in the midst of a mental health crisis. A recent report shows that nearly all people who died by suicide in the county between 2003 and 2015 either suffered from a mental health disorder or were exhibiting warning signs of one leading up to their deaths. Also, Morgan Hill had the second highest suicide rate in the county among the “youth” in the age group of 10-24 years, says the report that was released on March 3, 2017, by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department (SCCPHD).

The much-awaited report was prompted when in 2015 several young people committed suicide in the county. The goal of the report is to provide specific and actionable public health recommendations that could be used across communities to mitigate the public health problem.

The report, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), recommended that detecting mental and emotional needs early on and offering treatment could help in preventing deaths due to suicide. It further emphasized the strengthening of intervention methods including clinical interventions. “Prevention efforts would include clinical interventions, such as the combined use of psychopharmacology and psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavior therapy, and early detection and identification of youth with symptoms of schizophrenia and other severe mental illness,” the report said.

Suicide cases show common warning signs

According to the report, from 2003 to 2014, the crude suicide rate among youth of Santa Clara County aged 10 to 24 years was 5.4 per 100,000. The rate was similar to the crude suicide rate among the youth of California from 2003 to 2014. The average age of the youth, who died in California and whose residence was in Santa Clara County, was 20.4 years. The CDC also discovered that suicidal deaths were more common among men between 20 and 24 years.

The report highlighted that almost all young residents dying of suicide in Santa Clara County had some known suicide triggering circumstances that included a history of treatment for mental health problems, current mental health problem and a history of suicidal thoughts or ideation. The report also observed that across all suicide cases there were common warning signs including social withdrawal, increased substance use and extreme mood swings.

As per Sara Cody, a county health officer, the recent report findings shed some light on youth suicides in Santa Clara County. According to her, the report further provided communities and collaborators a foundation upon which to base their understanding about suicide prevention methods. She added that based on the report, it can be gleaned that one of the initial steps in reducing the stigma around mental health issues, including what may lead to a suicide, is to know the facts.

Help at hand

According to the CDC, suicide forms the third leading cause of death among people between ages 10 and 14 years and the second among those aged 15 and 34. A growing health concern, teen suicide is surpassed only by homicide and accidents. While risk factors for suicide vary by age, gender, ethnicity, family history and life events, mental illness forms the leading risk factor for it.

For those suffering from any kind of mental disorder including anxiety or depression, it is time to get professional help. Contact the 24/7 Mental Health Helpline to find one of the best mental health counseling programs for your disorder. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-653-8178 or chat online with experts to know the finest mental health rehabilitation centers in the U.S.