Suicide Awareness: ‘This single question can save a life,’ Says DHHS

This is a press release from the Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services:

Humboldt County Department of Health & (and) Human Services DHHSNearly 45,000 people lost their lives to suicide in the United States in 2016, according to new information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Almost 4,300 of those were in California.

The CDC says between 1999 and 2016, suicide rates went up more than 30 percent in half the states across the country. While Humboldt County’s rates between 2005 and 2016 stayed steady, they continue to be higher than the state and national average. In 2016, Humboldt’s rates were 2.3 times that of California.

“Suicide is a community health problem,” said Kris Huschle, a senior health education specialist with the Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS). Huschle added that resources are available. “Knowing how to help and where people can get help can be lifesaving. We must be proactive versus reactive.”

DHHS offers two free suicide prevention trainings that Huschle said are valuable for anyone who wants to learn more about how to help. Mental Health First Aid provides a general overview and basic skills to better identify, understand and respond to mental health and substance use issues.

A second training, Question-Persuade-Refer teaches participants to recognize forms of suicidal communication. Ask the question clearly and directly: “Are you thinking about suicide?” Begin the conversation and then link to community resources.

“A key piece of prevention is getting people trained to recognize the signs of when someone is in distress and how to offer help,” Huschle said. “It could be about suicide or not. It’s important to listen.”

Suicide warning signs can be direct such as a person saying, “I’m going to kill myself,” or indirect like, “People would be better off if I was gone.” It’s important to take all talk of suicide seriously. Other warning signs can include sudden mood changes, withdrawal or giving away possessions. They may also include an increase or decrease in sleep or appetite. A person thinking about suicide may increase their use of alcohol or other drugs. Signs differ for each person. Most people who die by suicide communicate their distress in some way.

If you are concerned for yourself or someone else, contact the 24-hour Mental Health Crisis Line at 707-445-7715 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. For a list of resources, visit

  • Laytonville Rock


  • Dehydration contributes to depression. It might even be the main cause, who knows.
    People wet their whistles all day & night, with coffee, tea, alcohol, fruit juices, milk and the like, but they don’t drink enough plain old water. Our bodies need water, not just liquid.

    • Shak, [edit]….. depression or mental anxiety and countless other dwellings within ones state isn’t cured by water.. [edit]

      • Yo_Mama, did I use the word cure?
        Post your citations of studies that prove water makes zero difference in the health of the body and mind.
        I’m sorry you’re disturbed by a tip that might benefit another person.
        But I’m not sorry I mentioned a mention that’s worth the mention to even just one person.
        Drink water.

      • Sounds like Mama could use a big glass of water. 😉

        Exercise and indulging your creative side can also really help.

        Our area is going through tough times. Please try to be kind to each other.

  • Just as a thought, many people I have met that have moved to this area are in a situation where they know there days are numbered and decide to be in the mountains and around the redwoods. Some of the people I know have also decided to take the assisted suicide route because they are terminal with less than six months. could this make our rate higher, and are they counted in the ratio?

  • If you know someone at risk DO NOT contact the authorities. Your freind will essentially be arrested and put on a psych hold for god knows how long. This will make whatever is wrong much worse. Take the time to actually do something to help their situation. Get other freinds or family involved, not the “law”.

    • That’s a hard choice to make. I suppose that it could make things worse for a stressed person but it might also be the only way to help someone. I think you might have to judge whether the help needed can be delivered by friends or whether the person is in such an immediate crisis or so resistant that only professional help will do. Certainly calling police over just a response to a question about thinking about suicide is likely not a good choice. I guess you have to really know your friend. But if you think that they are heading towards a bridge to jump off, there may not be time for anything else.

  • unbridled philistine

    All part of natural selection.. People have been killing them selves for thousands of years just like altering ones perception through drugs. If somebody is set on killing one self there is not much anybody can do. But I would still make the effort.

  • “DHHS offers two free suicide prevention trainings that Huschle said are valuable for anyone who wants to learn more about how to help. ” I called the numbers available and no one knows anything, got transferred three times. placed on hold, while the Mental Health tried to figure out what I was even taking about. THIS IS PART OF THE PROBLEM! You call up for help and you get put on hold. No one knows what is going on up there! They finally come back on and tell me that they don’t know anything about it. Very disappointing….

  • Could the answer before the question change from no to yes after asking upon being given the suggestion to include thinking about it as an additional option to problem solving.

    I worry about planting suggestions in already troubled minds.

  • I was real sad at home I lived way out of town my babysitter called the police she was at my house with me and three of my kids, I had called my friend who was a doctor he told me to come to his house, I was driving in when all of a sudden I was taken into custody. They drove me back to my house to verify that it was me I asked them please don’t my kids were there. They then took me to the hospital the 5150 me. The doctor on duty knew who I was but acted to not know me or my friend who worked there I was getting scared, four officers were in the room I was very calm not even crying I asked if I was under arrest three times when they wanted my purse to see ID they said no so I handcuffed with hands behind my back made a move to stand off the table I was then thrown to the ground and had my neck on the little tray in the room and black boots on the back of my neck. I then watched the doc step over me and I was taken to the nut house where they shot me with to much haladiol. Calming my self I got a doctors attention and he ran to get a drug to counter act. My point is don’t call police I felt like suicide after that. The next day I went in to hospital and told the same doctor he could now write up every bruise and cut that he allowed them to inflict on me my neck looked like I had hung myself. Not to mention the wrists ect.. My doctor friend had been fired that is why the doctor didn’t say anything they wouldn’t even call him to verify that I was ok just trying to get to a friends house… I have lost to brothers to suicide at it only takes a minute to call and check in with people people are more alone then ever due to cell phones we don’t get together like we used to.. I had a friend that was so overwhelmed she set fire to herself and died. The mental health said no when she w s taken there for help and her doctor stopped all meds so she was out there with nothing. I was with her the night before but she was done.. She lost all hope people turned her away. Thank you for reading this .

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