SAN LUIS OBISPO — The County of San Luis Obispo Behavioral Health Department is wrapping up September by inviting the community to partake in its Suicide Prevention Month drive-thru event. The drive-thru event on Wednesday, Sept. 30 at Transitions-Mental Health Association in San Luis Obispo will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

SLO Behavioral Health is collaborating with Transitions-Mental Health Association (TMHA) to host the drive-thru. The drive-thru will offer residents a chance to pick up mental health care packages and learn how to receive virtual mental health support during the COVID-10 pandemic. Although September is Suicide Prevention Month, the Department hopes the community will continue to spread the lasting message of hope, resilience and recovery during a time when so many are struggling with their mental health.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States (CDC, 2020) and the eighth leading cause of death in San Luis Obispo County (CDPH, 2019). The recent COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain on many community members, adding several mental health risk factors to their lives, such as increased anxiety, stress, and changes to daily routines. Many are finding it harder to access vital services and reach out for support.

“Our community is resilient, but mental health challenges are real, and our social well-being has experienced challenges as of late,” says Alysia Hendry, SLO Behavioral Health Suicide Prevention Coordinator. “Suicide prevention work is a year-round job. It includes providing direct services and support, focusing on prevention and early intervention, and providing postvention support to those who have lost someone to suicide. September is a time to recognize that suicide prevention work is about life. It is about finding common ground and supporting our neighbors, colleagues, and of course, our family and friends. Everyone has the power to make an impact, which is why it is so important to get involved in these efforts.”

SLO Behavioral Health has offered several virtual outreach efforts this month, including the annual Suicide Prevention Forum and suicide prevention training for local professionals and schools. Several resources are available online for residents’ to access. Community members can visit www.slocounty.ca.gov/suicideprevention and or follow Behavioral Health on Facebook and Instagram at @slobehavioralhealth for more information.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free number, 1-800-273-TALK(8255).

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