You are never a bother. for suicide prevention and crisis resources visit never a bother dot ORG. Purple flower with smiling face and white gloved hands making thumbs up

State Launches Youth Suicide Prevention Campaign

You are never a bother. for suicide prevention and crisis resources visit never a bother dot ORG. Purple flower with smiling face and white gloved hands making thumbs up

(California Department of Public Health)

By Michael J. Fitzgerald

The California Department of Public Health in late March launched a new youth suicide prevention campaign called “Never a Bother” to increase awareness, support and resources among California’s youth. In preparation for the launch, more than 400 young Californians and a youth advisory board helped to guide the campaign’s direction.

The campaign to address youth suicide includes oversight by CDPH’s Office of Suicide Prevention.

“Young Californians are facing a mental health crisis like never before,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás J. Aragón in a press release. “While this crisis has been growing for years, the pandemic put a spotlight on the issue, especially those in marginalized and underserved communities. This campaign directly addresses this crisis with education, tools, and resources informed and co-created by diverse young people across the state.”

>>>Read: ‘When Life Hits Like a Whip’: Students Try to Deal With Mental Health Themselves But Want More Support

First partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom said the new campaign’s use of the voices of youth is one of the most important tools in addressing the youth mental health crisis.

“The youth who partnered with us to create this campaign provided invaluable insight into the resources, knowledge, and support needed to best address their needs” she said in the release. “As a mother, I am proud to see a campaign that resonates with youth and serves as a reminder to them that they are never alone and never a bother.”

State officials noted that suicide was the second leading cause of death among youth aged 10-25 in California between 2018 and 2022. Youth aged 10-18 experienced a more than 20% increase in suicide rates from 2019 to 2020.

The Never a Bother concept was chosen by youth due to the inviting and welcoming look and feel of the campaign, which includes approachable icons and language, the officials noted.

In addition to the 400 youth from diverse communities, creation of the program was aided by 34 youth-serving community-based organizations and tribal entities from across California. It also has been supported by The Center at Sierra Health Foundation, all working on youth suicide prevention initiatives.

The multilayered Never a Bother campaign will use traditional advertising, social media and community outreach strategies to reach young people across California up to age 25.

>>>Read: Martinez High School Hosts Suicide Prevention Event

“As we continue to prioritize the future of our youth and their mental health, California continues to invest in a significant, multi-year overhaul of our mental health system,” Aragón added. “This campaign focuses on really listening to our young people and putting resources in the hands of those who need them most.”

The “Never a Bother” campaign is the latest endeavor of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Master Plan for Kids’ Mental Health and the California Health and Human Services Agency’s Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative.

Officials stressed that anyone experiencing thoughts of suicide should remember that they are not alone. Individuals can call or text 988 to reach the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (24/7). Trained professionals at that number can help reconnect people with the reasons to keep going and show ways to cope with difficult days.

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