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'Know the Signs' campaign aims to prevent suicide through awareness

December 12, 2012|By Anna Gorman
  • California health authorities have launched a bilingual suicide prevention campaign called "Know the Signs." It will include mobile apps and other social media tools.
California health authorities have launched a bilingual suicide prevention… (California Mental Health…)

California has launched a mass media campaign to raise awareness about suicide prevention, officials announced Wednesday.

The bilingual campaign, called Know the Signs, will include television, print, online and radio ads on how to recognize warning signs and how to help those at risk. The media outreach is part of a broader, $30-million suicide prevention effort in California that began last year and will continue through June 2014.

Friends and relatives play an important role in preventing suicide by noticing changes and providing reassurance that help is available, according to mental health officials.

“We are very focused on making sure that people who are in crisis can get connected to local services,” said Stephanie Welch, senior program manager of the California Mental Health Services Authority, which is heading up the campaign.

The campaign targets those at highest risk, including young Latinas, and will include mobile apps and other social media tools to prevent suicide. “Working with young people, we have to become more creative,” Welch said.

The Mental Health Services Authority is also expanding the capacity of call centers and training law enforcement officers, school officials and others who can direct people to services. The prevention program is funded through Prop. 63, the Mental Health Services Act.

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