Suicide Prevention: OC Allocates $3 Million for High-Risk Patients After Hospitalization
Orange County is expanding suicide prevention services for high-risk patients.
On Tuesday, November 16, the Orange County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved $3 million to address a gap in the continuum of care for high-risk individuals after they have been discharged from a hospital. The program, operated by Didi Hirsch Psychiatric Service, will directly link patients to step-down therapeutic intervention, prevention, and postvention services.
“In Orange County, we’re bringing an all hands-on-deck approach when it comes to suicide prevention and mental health,” said Chairman Do, who has focused on reforming the County’s mental health system since taking office in 2015.
From 2000 to 2018, the number of deaths caused by suicide in Orange County, increased by 25%. From 2014 to 2018, an average of 330 lives were lost each year, reaching an all-time high of 369 deaths in 2018.
Public health experts say that the COVID-19 pandemic has only increased many of the risk factors associated with suicidal behaviors.
$3 Million for Suicide Prevention Step-Down Services
Currently, there is no specific suicide prevention step-down services for patients who are discharged from a hospital after receiving treatment in Orange County. That’s changing with the County’s action last month.
Through partnerships with Orange County hospitals, individuals who are assessed to be at high risk of suicide at the time of being discharged will be directly linked to step-down therapeutic intervention, prevention, and postvention services. Once individuals are discharged from Didi Hirsch, a two-month follow-up care by a therapist will be provided along with up to 12 months of extended follow-up care.
“Suicide is a serious public health problem that has lasting harmful effects on family members, coworkers, and community members,” said Chairman Do.
2020: OC Launches Office of Suicide Prevention
Last August, the County launched its new Office of Suicide Prevention, under a plan proposed by Supervisors Andrew Do and Lisa Bartlett. The office coordinates all County suicide prevention efforts and facilitates evidence-based prevention activities in Orange County.
In addition to creating the new Office of Suicide Prevention, the OC Board of Supervisors took action in 2019 by directing the OC Health Care Agency to allocate $600,000 of Mental Health Services Act funding to create a countywide suicide prevention initiative.
Get Help: Suicide Prevention Resources
For over a decade, Didi Hirsch Psychiatric Service has provided suicide prevention and support services for Orange County residents. Services include a 24-hour multilingual suicide prevention hotline, suicide prevention and postvention survivor support services, and community outreach, education, and training to increase awareness of suicide risk.
* Those in need of support for themselves or a loved one can call the 24/7 Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.
* People who are deaf or hard of hearing and who need support in a crisis can text for help by texting the word “HEARME” to 839863.
* For more information, check out the Crisis Prevention Hotline website.hhhhh
Orange County Chairman Andrew Do represents the First District communities of Santa Ana, Garden Grove, Westminster, Fountain Valley, and Midway City. In addition to health and safety-based COVID-19 response planning, he has reformed Orange County’s mental health services, expanded access to health care, and led efforts to combat homelessness.