Californians more prepared to help those at risk for suicide

This week marks National Suicide Prevention Week (Sept. 5-11) and Californians are doing their part to raise awareness about the warning signs of suicide and offer support to those who lost a loved one to suicide.

Research shows that teaching Californians about mental health and training key individuals to recognize signs of mental health challenges are making a difference in the fight against stigma and saving lives. In fact, an independent evaluation from RAND found that more Californians than ever know the signs of suicide and are prepared to intervene with someone who is struggling, thanks to programs provided by counties and supported by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA) with funds from the Mental Health Services Act (Prop. 63). California’s suicide prevention initiative Know the Signs is one of these programs empowering Californians to recognize the warning signs of suicide, talk to someone in crisis and get them to professional help.¹

As suicide prevention initiatives expand in California, additional RAND studies have revealed statewide benefits. These  include:


 pexels-photo-42399California leads the nation in the number of people trained in suicide intervention skills.

  • In 2015, more than 4,500 Californians became certified to train others in ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training),  and over 4,600 Californians have been trained in safeTALK.



California’s suicide prevention programs are saving lives and dollars.

  • For every $1 the state invests in CalMHSA’s suicide prevention program, the state will receive an estimated $1,100 in economic benefits, such as reduced spending on emergency care and increased earnings.²


Californians can increasingly reach hotlines via multiple means.

  • 62 percent of survey participants indicated that they would call a suicide prevention line in a time of crisis. In 2015, approximately 160,000 callers contacted a suicide prevention hotline. Additionally, hotlines now offer web-based chat and text messaging services as another resource to reach crisis counselors.³


Progress has been made, and there is so much more YOU can do to ensure each mind matters. Download the Suicide Prevention Week toolkit and use the resources provided in your own community.

Social Media Message 1If you or someone you know are having thoughts of suicide, contact the crisis hotlines below to speak with a trained counselor 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Spanish services also available):
    • 1-800-273-TALK
  • Trevor Project Lifeline: Crisis intervention for LGBTQ youth
    • 1-866-488-7386

For additional information about resources and programs, please visit, or your local department of behavioral health.

¹ Source: Adults Exposed to “Know the Signs” Are More Confident Intervening with Those At Risk for Suicide
² Source: Analysis of the Benefits and Costs of CalMHSA’s Investment in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST)
³ Source: Suicide Prevention Hotlines in California: Diversity in Services, Structure, and Organization and the Potential Challenges Ahead

For related content:
It’s time to plan for Suicide Prevention Week!
Raise Awareness During Suicide Prevention Week