SACRAMENTO—Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-Highland) today hailed inclusion of ongoing funding for the Office of Suicide Prevention in the governor’s May Revise. Last year Ramos successfully authored AB 2112, which created the mental health office within the state’s Department of Public Health but without secured funding.
“This is one more step in ensuring the state’s financial commitment in confronting an ongoing crisis made worse by COVID-19,” Ramos said. “I introduced AB 2112 in February 2020 because of California’s high suicide rate, especially among young people and other vulnerable groups. Then COVID-19 hit and attacked more than just our physical health. Isolation, stress over the safety of loved ones, grief and economic uncertainty all took their toll.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget change now includes $780, 235 from the 2021-22 General Fund budget and ongoing support for the Department of Public Health to establish and administer the Office of Suicide Prevention. “I am deeply appreciative and heartened by this positive change in the budget and what it means in California’s battle to bring hope and help in the fight to reduce suicide and self-harm. It is a good start.”
“This pandemic has shed light on the need for additional mental health resources throughout our state,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom. “By ensuring ongoing funding for the new Office of Suicide Prevention, California will help marshal resources and research. Thanks to the persistent advocacy of Assemblymember Ramos for a statewide approach to reducing suicide rates, California has a new tool to save lives.”
Earlier this year, Harvard University reported in its study, Loneliness in America, that 36 percent of Americans stated they felt “serious loneliness” and that 61 percent of the respondents were aged 18 to 25 years. More than 40 percent reported the increase in loneliness occurred since the pandemic began.
“May is Mental Health Month, and this is a hopeful sign that the Office of Suicide Prevention can effectively organize a statewide response to this crisis by using a data-driven approach to suicide prevention and intervention in all communities and assist with vital on-the-ground work performed by providers across the state. This crisis affects all of us, with disproportionate impacts on communities of color, including disproportionate impacts on Native American adults. We can’t afford to wait.”
Assemblymember James Ramos proudly represents the 40th Assembly district which includes Highland, Loma Linda, Mentone, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, and San Bernardino. He is the first and only California Native American serving in the state’s legislature.