SANTA ANA (CNS) - Orange County supervisors today approved spending $600,000 for a mental health program aimed to preventing suicide.
The funding of the MindOC program was prompted by ``an alarming trend of suicide rates in Orange County,'' said Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett.
``Orange County has seen higher increases of people taking their lives,'' Bartlett said, adding that the county's teen suicide rate has outstripped the state average.
``This is totally unacceptable and we need to take action,'' Bartlett said.
The county has also been struggling with suicide rates among veterans as well, Bartlett said.
``Roughly half (of suicide victims) have never had access to mental health care,'' Bartlett said. ``We need to do more.''
The program is aiming to create an ``impactful campaign to engage the public at large so we can reverse this trend and save lives,'' she said. ``Simply put... we want all 3.3 million people in Orange County to be aware that if someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis we have the resources to help.''
Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do noted that a ``close friend of mine had a suicide in his family'' recently, and, he added, ``It was a tough time for all of us.''
Do said there is ``still very much a stigma'' about suicide, which discourages people struggling with mental health issues from seeking help.
The program will ``effectively target parents and students to talk about suicide prevention and to talk about the triggers that lead to those thoughts,'' Do said. ``It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help. In fact, it is a sign of strength and we are here to help.''