Fresno County health experts are hoping to raise awareness during suicide prevention month

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September is suicide prevention month and health experts are hoping to raise awareness after an uptick in Fresno County. (KFSN)

September is suicide prevention month and health experts are hoping to raise awareness after an uptick in Fresno County.

"Generally, there is about two suicide per week in Fresno County," said Dr. Susan Napolitano, licensed clinical psychologist.

In 2014, 110 residents in Fresno County committed suicide. Last year, the number went down to 97.

"One thing that is extremely important in preventing suicides is preventing access to extremely lethal weapons," said Dr. Napolitano.

Dr. Napolitano said youth between the ages of 15 and 25 are at high risk of taking their own life. She said it's the fourth leading cause of death for them.

"More teenagers die by suicide than car accidents, disease, homicides, pretty much more than any other cause."

Dr. Napolitano said one reason for that is technology.

"One of the best preventers of suicide is a loving warm reliable relationship. And if you've got your head in the phone you're going to miss it, and if everybody's got their head in the phone it might not be there for you."

Phones can also help save a life at the Central Valley Suicide Prevention Hotline. The organization responds to calls from people contemplating suicide and those calls in the last year have increased.

"In July we took over 2,660 calls, August over 2,300 calls in 2015. We were averaging 1,240 calls per month," said Barbara Breen, Central Valley Suicide Prevention Hotline.

The suicide prevention agency has a team of call responders staffed 24/7 to help anyone considering taking their own life-- even if it's just to talk. The number to call is 888-506-5991.
Related Topics:
healthsuicidefresno countydepression
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