Supporting Each Other
Mental Health Resources Abound in Nevada County
According to the Centers for Disease Control more than 47,500 Americans die by suicide every year. Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for people aged 34 to 54. And for every death by suicide, there are more than 25 suicide attempts.
Locally, experts say mental health continues to be an issue for many, although local support is now available in many forms, every day of the week.
“Many people, in every community, experience mental health challenges and thoughts of suicide,” says Phebe Bell, Nevada County Behavioral Health Director. “In fact, research tells us that at any given time up to one in every 20 people in the U.S. is experiencing thoughts of suicide. We see this in our work at Nevada County Behavioral Health in many ways, including through calls to our access team for assessments, contacts to our crisis lines and visits to the Crisis Stabilization Unit.”
The Crisis Stabilization Unit has become an important tool for those in the county hoping to better support people experiencing a mental health emergency.
“The CSU is a four-bed mental health urgent care,” Bell explains. “People who are experiencing thoughts of suicide or are otherwise in crisis can get the support they need from a team of trained mental health professionals at the CSU.”
To access the CSU, someone experiencing a crisis who needs immediate help can call 911 or can go to Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital to be evaluated. They will be assessed to see if they need an immediate hospitalization.
Bell says the CSU is a critical resource.
“Sometimes people in crisis simply need some support, some time with a therapist, maybe access to needed medications or an appointment with a mental health provider,” Bell explains. “Then, they can safely return to their home setting with more services in place. The CSU staff can provide this type of intervention.”
Often, the intervention and support of the CSU staff prevents an unnecessary hospitalization. Other times a hospital stay may be needed but the CSU can be a restful and healing place for the person while they wait for an appropriate bed to be found.
“Nevada County is very lucky to have this type of resource in a small community,” Bell says. “It is only possible because of the deep partnership between Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital and Nevada County Behavioral Health. Both of whom have invested financial and other resources to ensure our community has access to this type of care when they are experiencing a mental health crisis.”
Bell says the CSU is not the only innovative mental health program available in the community.
“Last year the county began a mobile crisis pilot program, which pairs a crisis counselor with a deputy at the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office,” she says. “The mobile crisis unit, when on duty, will respond to calls into dispatch that are crisis-oriented versus criminal justice-related.”
Bell says the events of the past 18 months have had a dramatic effect on mental health for many people.
“Many people are experiencing anxiety, stress, fear and grief as a result of the pandemic,” she says. “But a lot of people are also reaching out, whether that’s through their natural network of support with friends, family and loved ones or through professional supports like those offered by the county.”
Experts agree that having open conversations about emotional struggles helps to reduce the stigma, making it easier for those in crisis to seek the help they need.
“The good news is that every person reaching out for help is another person who made the hard decision to share their pain and worries with someone else and now is hopefully more connected to the resources and supports available in our community,” Bell says.
The following resources are available in our community for those struggling with mental health issues.
■ Nevada County Crisis Line: 530-265-5811
A local line that provides 24/7 access to trained mental health counselors and serves as a gateway to referrals for additional services and support.
■ National Suicide Lifeline: 800-273-8255
Available 24/7 across the country. If people prefer text message, they can text “HOME” to 741741 to connect via text to mental health counselors for support and additional resources.
■ Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital
For in-person support we have a team of crisis workers available at SNMH 24 hours a day.
■ Additional local resources: letstalknevadacounty.org
Knowing and recognizing the warning signs is key to prevent suicide. Seek help if you or someone you know is experiencing any of the signs below.
• Talking about wanting to die
• Looking for a way to kill oneself
• Talking about having no reason to live
• Giving away prized possessions
• Acting anxious or agitated
• Talking about being in unbearable pain
• Sleeping too little or too much
• Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
• Showing rage or seeking revenge
• Talking about being a burden to others
• Showing lack of interest in future plans
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