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​California Launches New Youth Suicide Prevention Campaign

March 27, 2024
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Never a Bother Logo

“Never a Bother” Campaign Shaped with Direct Input from California’s Youth​

What You Need To Know: The California Department of Public Health launched “Never a Bother,” a new youth suicide prevention campaign to increase awareness, support, and resources among California’s youth. More than 400 young Californians, including a youth advisory board, shared their thoughts, feelings, and perspectives to help guide the campaign’s direction.​

Sacramento – ​​Today, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) launched the “Never a Bother” campaign, a youth suicide prevention public awareness and outreach campaign for youth, young adults, and their parents, caregivers, and allies. The campaign to address youth suicide was co-created with input from California’s​ youth, with oversight by CDPH's Office of Suicide Prevention. ​   

“Young Californians are facing a mental health crisis like never before,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Office​r, Dr. Tomás J. Aragón. “While this crisis has been growing for years, the pandemic put a spotlight on the issue, especially those in marginalized and underserved communities. This campaign directly addresses this crisis with education, tools, and resources informed and co-created by diverse young people across the state.” ​​​

“The ‘Never a Bother’ campaign utilizes one of the most important tools we have to address the youth mental health crisis: the voices of young people,” ​​said First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom. “The youth who partnered with us to create this campaign provided invaluable insight into the resources, knowledge, and support needed to best address their needs. As a mother, I am proud to see a campaign that resonates with youth and serves as a reminder to them that they are never alone and never a bother.” ​​

Created ​​With and For California’s Youth​: “Never​ a Bother” was created with input from more than 400 youth from diverse communities across the state, as well as the Youth Advisory Board and 34 youth-serving community-based organizations and tribal entities from across California. With support from The Center at Sierra Health Foundation, all of these groups are working hand-in-hand on youth suicide prevention initiatives. Insights from in-depth research, focus groups, and listening sessions were also incorporated into all aspects of the “Never ​a Bother” campaign concept and strategy.

Why This Matters: Suicide was the second leading cause of death among youth ages 10-25 years in California between 2018 and 2022, with youth ages 10-18 experiencing a more than 20% increase in suicide rates from 2019 to 2020. The “Never a ​Bother” concept was chosen by youth due to the inviting and welcoming look and feel of the campaign, which includes approachable icons and language. The campaign resonates with youth as it validates their feelings of not wanting to be a burden to others. It speaks to their need to know that they are never a bother, that no problem is too small, and that it is important to check in with one another before, during, and after a crisis.

“As we continue to prioritize the future of our youth and their mental health, California continues to invest in a significant, multi-year overhaul of our mental health system.” added Dr. Aragón. “This campaign focuses on really listening to our young people and putting resources in the hands of those who need them most.” 

About The Campaign: The multilayered “Never a Bother” ​campaign will use traditional advertising, social media content, and community outreach strategies to reach young people across California up to age 25.

The campaign focuses on youth populations disproportionately impacted by suicide, who may also face more systemic barriers to resources and support. An additional focus includes youth who identify as 2SLGBTQIA+, have experienced mental health and/or substance use challenges, and/or have been impacted by the foster care system.

The “Never a B​other”  Campaign will:

  • Increase knowledge and awareness of suicide warning signs, crisis lines, and other sources of support among youth, young adults, and their caregivers.

  • Help young people ask for help, know that they deserve help, and they are not a “bother,” and communicate that they are not alone in supporting themselves or a friend before, during, and after a crisis.

  • Support young people reaching out for help, for themselves or for a friend.

  • Strengthen parents and caregivers’ abilities to recognize warning signs of suicide and intervene.

Supporting Yourself and Loved OnesSuicide is a complex problem requiring collaborative solutions at multiple levels, including individuals, families, schools, and communities. Suicide prevention can only be effective when everyone is part of the solution, including:

  • Learning how you can support yourself, a friend, or a youth in your care before, during, and after a crisis.

  • Telling a friend or young person in your care that they are never a bother and encourage them to reach out for help when they need it.

If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide, you are not alone. Call or text 988 to reach the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (24/7). Trained professionals can reconnect you with your reasons to keep going and show you ways to cope with difficult days.

Bigger Picture: The “Never a Bother” ​​ campaign is the latest endeavor of Governor Gavin Newsom’s Master Plan for Kids’ Mental Health (PDF, 3.6MB) and the California Health and Human Services Agency’s Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative (CYBHI). In line with the Master Plan and CYBHI, the campaign continues the state’s effort to increase awareness of suicide prevention and mental health resources, build life-saving intervention skills, and promote help-seeking behavior.

Campaign Materials: “Never a Bother” ​campaign logos, videos, and other assets can be found online at NeverABother.org.

Never a Bother Youth Videos

Learn how to help yourself or a friend

Youth at the Campaign Launch
Youth at the Campaign Launch
Speaker at the Campaign Launch
Speaker at the Campaign Launch

The campaign formally launched today with a website, social media channels, and ongoing advertising campaign and premiered at an event in Auburn, California at the Auburn Regional Park with Sierra Native Alliance.

For more information, visit www.neverabother.org. ​

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