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Public health campaign addresses youth suicide


‘Never a Bother’

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) launched the “Never a Bother” campaign, a youth suicide prevention public awareness and outreach campaign for youth, young adults, and their parents, caregivers, and allies. The campaign to address youth suicide was co-created with input from California’s youth, with oversight by CDPH’s Office of Suicide Prevention.

“Young Californians are facing a mental health crisis like never before,” said Dr. Tomas J. Aragon, CDPH director and state public health officer. “While this crisis has been growing for years, the pandemic put a spotlight on the issue, especially those in marginalized and underserved communities. This campaign directly addresses this crisis with education, tools, and resources informed and co-created by diverse young people across the state."

“The ‘Never a Bother’ campaign utilizes one of the most important tools we have to address the youth mental health crisis: the voices of young people,” said First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom. “The youth who partnered with us to create this campaign provided invaluable insight into the resources, knowledge, and support needed to best address their needs. As a mother, I am proud to see a campaign that resonates with youth and serves as a reminder to them that they are never alone and never a bother."

“Never a Bother” was created with input from more than 400 youth from diverse communities across the state, as well as the Youth Advisory Board and 34 youth-serving community-based organizations and tribal entities from across California. With support from The Center at Sierra Health Foundation, all of these groups are working hand-in-hand on youth suicide prevention initiatives. Insights from in-depth research, focus groups, and listening sessions were also incorporated into all aspects of the “Never a Bother” campaign concept and strategy.

Suicide was the second leading cause of death among youth ages 10-25 years in California between 2018 and 2022, with youth ages 10-18 experiencing a more than 20% increase in suicide rates from 2019 to 2020. The “Never a Bother” concept was chosen by youth due to the inviting and welcoming look and feel of the campaign, which includes approachable icons and language. The campaign resonates with youth as it validates their feelings of not wanting to be a burden to others. It speaks to their need to know that they are never a bother, that no problem is too small, and that it is important to check in with one another before, during, and after a crisis.

“As we continue to prioritize the future of our youth and their mental health, California continues to invest in a significant, multi-year overhaul of our mental health system,” Aragon said. “This campaign focuses on really listening to our young people and putting resources in the hands of those who need them most."

 Suicide is a complex problem requiring collaborative solutions at multiple levels, including individuals, families, schools, and communities. Suicide prevention can only be effective when everyone is part of the solution, including:

Learning how you can support yourself, a friend, or a youth in your care before, during, and after a crisis.

Telling a friend or young person in your care that they are never a bother and encourage them to reach out for help when they need it.

If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide, you are not alone. Call or text 988 to reach the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline (24/7). Trained professionals can reconnect you with your reasons to keep going and show you ways to cope with difficult days.