CA Lawmaker Wants Office of Suicide Prevention To Protect Young People

Source: KFBK/iHeart Radio

"Suicide is a horrific tragedy that affects too many, and now we are seeing youth at a much younger age taking their own lives,"

Democratic California Assemblyman James Ramos has a bill that he says would create an Office of Suicide Prevention to reduce suicides, particularly among vulnerable groups like adolescents, seniors, veterans, and LGBTQ people.

"Suicide is a horrific tragedy that affects too many, and now we are seeing youth at a much younger age taking their own lives," Ramos said. "AB 2112 will assist California to renew our efforts to prevent suicide and stem the devastation."

Ramos said he put the legislation together after report from California's Mental Health Services Oversight & Accountability Commission submitted a report recommending such an agency.

"We know how critical this effort is when we see that more than 4,000 Californians die by suicide every year according to the strategic plan’s research," he added. That's in addition to the thousands he said contemplate ending their lives, according to recent data.

Ramos is especially concerned that suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 15-24, according to a 2017 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Also, a CDC report on suicides between 1991 and 2017 showed that 1 in 6 high school students admitted to seriously considered ending their lives and more than 1 in 12 said they actually attempted suicide.

If Ramos' bill is approved, the new office would be a part of the Office of the Surgeon General and charged with recommending best practices to prevent suicide.