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After Dropping Early In Pandemic, Fresno County Suicides In June Rose To Highest In Years

Fresno County Behavioral Health Department


In June, 17 people in Fresno County died by suicide, a number that the Fresno County Behavioral Health Department revealed is the highest of any month since at least 2017. It’s made all the more stark by the fact that early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, suicides had dropped significantly.

Credit Amanda Nugent Divine

Mental health needs are rising throughout the San Joaquin Valley, according to Kings View Behavioral Health Systems CEO Amanda Nugent Divine. The agency provides direct care and other mental health services, including a 24-hour suicide prevention hotline, for the San Joaquin Valley. She sat down with FM89’s Kerry Klein to discuss the context and scope of this public health crisis.


If you need help, the Central Valley Suicide Prevention Hotline is available 24 hours a day at 1-888-506-5991.



Kerry Klein is an award-winning reporter whose coverage of public health, air pollution, drinking water access and wildfires in the San Joaquin Valley has been featured on NPR, KQED, Science Friday and Kaiser Health News. Her work has earned numerous regional Edward R. Murrow and Golden Mike Awards and has been recognized by the Association of Health Care Journalists and Society of Environmental Journalists. Her podcast Escape From Mammoth Pool was named a podcast “listeners couldn’t get enough of in 2021” by the radio aggregator NPR One.
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