Sunday, June 4, 2023

51-Year-Old Willits Man Takes His Own Life Reminding Mendocino County Residents of the Risks of Suicide in Rural Areas

The woods of the Mendocino County Coast [Picture by Matt LaFever]

Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Captain Greg Van Patten confirmed that a 51-year-old Willits man committed suicide last night by stabbing himself in the chest. Captain Van Patten said the man was “home with family members when the suicide occurred.

Though difficult to consider, Mendocino County residents need to remember that the county experienced the sixth-highest suicide rate in the state of California between 2015-2017, as per research conducted by the California Department of Public Health. According to the same study, Lake County experiences the highest rate of suicides, and Humboldt County, the 4th in the state while Trinity County, and Del Norte vied with a number of other small rural counties for third.

More recently, Mendocino County experienced a spike in suicides associated with COVID-19 lockdowns though Humboldt and Trinity reported no particular uptick.

Many aspects of the Emerald Triangle’s rural lifestyle lend themselves to suicide risk factors. Those risk factors, as described by the Center for Disease Control, include barriers to health care, social isolation, and high rates of adverse childhood experiences, 

Please remember, if you or a loved one are suffering from mental distress there are many resources that can be accessed including:

  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): 1-800-950-6264, info@nami.org
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): (800) 662-4357
  • National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): (866) 615-6464
  • Mental Health America Hotline: Text MHA to 741741
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
  • Crisis Text Line: Text CONNECT to 741741

In efforts to educate the public regarding suicide prevention, the following infographic from the National Institute of Mental Health provides guidance in warning signs associated with suicide:

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  1. You cannot talk about suicide unless you want to be 5150, 72 lock up with zero phone call.
    I’ve been 5150ed 5 times, 3 time in Ukiah, one of those at The Low Gap Inn. Charged with 3 felonies for hurting a man with a knife who attacked me on a secluded trail. Ft Bragg 2008. The man who attacked me was a confidential informant for FtB police. A violent drunk named Daniel Lee Hastings, who died in the old park behind Sun House several years later. Do an FBI check on him?
    40 house in a cement room, naked, with flood lights and a little grate in the corner to relieve my needs. I did see a shrink at GitMo back in 82.
    Locking people up who are in stress only increases stress. Like making someone with a heart attack walk to the hospital.
    PTSD does not respond favorably to violence.
    Note: I’ve carried the suicidal tendencies since I was 14 yet still have never attempted it. But damn, never talk about it or they take away your shoe laces, maybe a brand new drug.

  2. would be nice if Mendocino county got a mental Health Hospital with staffing and beds, rooms, and resources in place for people who need help. You know since our county has such high Suicides.. our Health Care and broken system in general are a long way from actually benefiting the community as a whole…

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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