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Suicide is a major public health concern in California that can have both immediate and long-term impacts on individuals, families, and entire communities. Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and the California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission’s “Striving for Zero: California’s Strategic Plan for Suicide Prevention 2020—2025 (PDF, 4MB)” define suicide as a public health issue and a self-directed injurious form of violence.

Suicide is a leading cause of death

Suicide is death caused by injuring oneself with the intent to die. A suicide attempt is when someone harms themselves with any intent to end their life, but they do not die as a result of their actions.

Many factors can increase the risk for suicide or protect against it. Suicide is connected to other forms of injury and violence. For example, people who have experienced violence, including child abuse, bullying, or sexual violence have a higher suicide risk. Being connected to family and community support and having easy access to health care can decrease suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

PDF Icon Self-Directed Violence Surveillance  (PDF, 1.35MB)

PDF IconPreventing Multiple Forms of Violence (PDF)

 What is the Public Health Role in Suicide Prevention?

Public health recognizes that violence, including suicide, is preventable and takes a primary prevention approach, working "upstream" to address underlying causes to prevent violence from happening in the first place. Both the California Departments of Public’s Health (CDPH) Comprehensive Suicide Prevention Program (CSP) and Office of Suicide Prevention (OSP) use a public health approach to prevent suicides by partnering across multiple sectors, supporting and coordinating state and local suicide prevention activities, and providing data and technical assistance to support community-based prevention programs.

 Public Health Role in Suicide Prevention

Need Help?  Know Someone Who Does?
To connect with a crisis counselor, text the crisis text line at 741741. It’s free and available 24/7.

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