County Resolutions Shine a Light on Health and Human Services

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Source: County of Santa Barbara

At its regular meeting today, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors adopted several resolutions to raise awareness for important health and human service issues. The Board proclaimed September 2017 as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and National Recovery Month, and September 10-16 as National Suicide Prevention Week in the county.

Each day, 42 families in the United States will receive devastating news that their child or teen has cancer, which is more than 15,000 kids and young adults annually. Though the five-year-survival rate for childhood cancers has reached 80 percent, nearly 2,000 kids under age 19 die each year, making cancer the leading killer of children by disease. Of the survivors, many will suffer from long-term effects of comprehensive treatment, including secondary cancers.

The County’s resolution recognizes the efforts of the American Cancer Fund for Children and Kids Cancer Connection. These organizations provide a variety of vital patient psychosocial services to children undergoing cancer treatment at Santa Barbara Cottage Children's Hospital, The City of Hope National Medical Center, Valley Children's Hospital, as well as participating hospitals throughout the country, thereby enhancing the quality of life for these children and their families.

Designating September 10-16 as National Suicide Prevention Week recognizes suicide as a local, statewide and national public mental health problem. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in the United States one person completes suicide just about every 12 minutes resulting in 44,193 suicides. More than 90 percent of the people who die by suicide have a diagnosable and treatable mental illness. 

“According to the CDC, suicide is one the leading causes of death in the Country, therefore it is critically important to increase awareness about suicide prevention,” said Third District County Supervisor Joan Hartmann. “The County and a number of local agencies have resources to help identify warning signals, offer support and provide services. I encourage County constituents to learn more about these resources and how to help those in need.”

One of the goals of raising awareness is to generate discussions of mental health and suicide, which is vital to breaking the stigma and taboos. Suicide is often preventable and treatment does work. If you or someone you know needs help, call the County’s 24-hour access line at (888) 868-1649 or the National Suicide Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK (8255). 

“I am grateful for the attention that these resolutions bring to important issues and programs in our community,” added Second District County Supervisor Janet Wolf. “Bringing the issue of suicide and suicide prevention “out of the shadows” is so important and vital to so many in our community; I am honored to support the role that Glendon Association and our Behavioral Wellness Department play in this important work.”

The 2017 theme for National Recovery Month is "Join the Voices for Recovery: Strengthen Families and Communities,” which highlights the value of family and community support throughout recovery. Through awareness and education about recovery, the community is encouraged to support men, women, youth and their families who are in drug and alcohol addiction treatment and mental health recovery programs throughout our community.

First District County Supervisor Das Williams said, “Substance addiction, or addiction of any kind, can seem like an insurmountable obstacle for folks while they are in the throes of their illness. However, it is the dedication and compassion of folks within our Behavioral Wellness Department who provide a continuum of care that empowers folks to overcome their addictions. That’s why I am so grateful for the work that those folks do, and I so incredibly proud of the individuals who have leveraged the services of our County in order to achieve their full potential and lead a self-directed life.”

The County Behavioral Wellness Department provides, in partnership with community-based organizations, a Continuum of Care that includes the prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery from mental health and substance use challenges promoting the message that behavioral health is essential to wellness.

For information about the County, go to www.countyofsb.org.

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