SANTA CRUZ COUNTY—Amid a growing nationwide suicide epidemic, the Santa Cruz County Suicide Prevention Task Force (SPTF) on Monday released a draft of its Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan.
The plan envisions a system of prevention, intervention, and postvention (an organized response to the aftermath of a suicide) through priorities including the establishment of new programs and services and improved understanding of local strengths and needs.
"This plan is a result of the efforts of a diverse group of people dedicated to building hope and saving lives," said Noah Whitaker, co-chair of SPTF. "Our desire is for more people and organizations in the community to see this plan, get inspired, and step forward to help us build a suicide-safer Santa Cruz County."
The suicide rate in Santa Cruz County is 16.4 per 100,000 residents, compared to 10.7 statewide. Nationwide, the suicide rate has increased in 49 states since 1999, and is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. Furthermore, it is one of only three leading causes of death on the rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
In September 2018, Santa Cruz County convened the SPTF to focus on preventing suicide deaths. The task force is comprised of community members; community-based, health care and faith-based organizations; school, law enforcement and hospice personnel; behavioral health and public health agencies; veterans and more.
Comments on the draft of the Suicide Prevention Strategic Plan may be submitted through May 16. The task force will convene a town hall meeting to receive additional feedback on May 16 from 5:30-7 p.m. at 1400 Emeline Ave., Building K, Room 206-207, Santa Cruz.
For the complete plan visit: santacruzhealth.org.