City tackles tough topic of suicide

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In 2016, over 101 deaths by suicide were reported within Fresno County and the most recent data available shows over 2,045 people in the county call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline for assistance in a given year.

These statistics are astounding to local Clovis councilmember Lynne Ashbeck, who leads Fresno County’s Suicide Prevention Collaborative as part of her day job with Valley Children’s Hospital. Even one suicide a year is too many for Ashbeck, who said the goal is for there to be zero suicides in the county.

Ashbeck brought forth a proclamation to the council on Sept. 11, declaring this week (Sept. 10 to Sept. 16) suicide prevention week. The county board of supervisors, as well as local school districts, have also adopted the proclamation.

“I do a lot of work around this issue and while it’s not uplifting like some of the other topics we’ve discussed tonight, it is very important for all of us to talk about some of the issues we all face [that can lead some to suicide],” Ashbeck said. “If any one of us could prevent something like this, we would, but we can’t so this requires all of us to work together. This week, I encourage everyone to reach out to someone they know because we all know someone whose life is difficult.”