Data compiled by the Butte County Sheriff’s Office show more teenagers died by suicide in 2020 than in 2019 and 2018 combined.
Five county teens died from suicide last year, ranging in ages from 15 to 19. There were two teen suicide deaths in 2019, and one in 2018.
Scott Kennelly, the county’s director of Behavioral Health, says there has been an uptick in children seeking mental health services for the first time over the course of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are seeing a significant increase in the number of people who are either suicidal – calling our crisis line – or who are actually engaging in a suicidal act, trying to hurt themselves,” Kennelly said.
Total suicides declined last year compared to the two previous years. Thirty-eight county residents died by suicide in 2020. Forty people died by suicide in 2019, and 51 people died by suicide in 2018.
The suicide rate per 100,000 people was about 18.4 in 2020. That was slightly lower than 2019’s rate, which was 18.6. Those figures are based on population estimates tabulated by the state Department of Finance.
People experiencing suicidal thoughts can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org.