Big Bear Lake, CA, September 6, 2013 – The 39th Annual National Suicide Prevention Week starts on Monday, and Lutheran Social Services is taking the opportunity to inform the public about the great strides being taken in prevention.

Thanks to Prop. 63 — the Mental Health Services Act passed by voters in 2004 — California has invested in programs that prevent mental illness, promote mental health, and connect individuals with help before they reach a crisis point.

California is implementing comprehensive suicide prevention programs that empower everyone from youth to seniors with the tools, resources, and crisis support needed to address this public health issue.  These programs are funded at the county level and guided by the California Strategic Plan on Suicide Prevention.

To demonstrate how crucial these services are, in the 12-month period ending in August, the Big Bear Sheriff’s Station received 199 calls from individuals in acute mental health crises, suffering from suicidal or even homicidal thoughts. Lutheran Social Services also has a crisis line with 24/7 coverage; it is (866) 729-9633.

In 2009, California counties formed the California Mental Health Services Authority to efficiently collaborate on Prevention and Early Intervention strategies. These efforts are improving knowledge about early warning signs, resources, and linking people to help before it’s too late.

Extensive suicide prevention resources are online.