BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, but as the month ends, mental health resources do not.

The nationwide hotline 9-8-8 is making a significant impact on mental health awareness for Kern County, according to Kern Behavioral Health & Recovery Services. By dialing 9-8-8, the mental health worker you speak to is “going to help you and provide the resources you need, whether that be someone to talk to and help you calm down in that moment or get you connected to ongoing to mental health services,” Director Stacy Kuwahara said.

According to the California Department of Health, the average rate of suicides in California is 10.5 per 100,000. In Kern County, the suicide rate is higher at 13.5. However, this hotline is an effort to help change that. “We want to make suicide a never event. We don’t want to see any suicides in our community,” Kuwahara said.

However, National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is only a start, not an end.

“The more we talk about it, we can share what’s available, what’s in our community, where you go for help and also normalizing it,” Kuwahara said.

For resources, if you or someone you know is struggling with mental health or in a crisis, call or text the hotline at 9-8-8.

Also, to continue to be a mental health worker to support those in need of mental health help Kern Behavioral Health & Recovery Services are actively filling open positions that you can apply for by emailing bhrshiring@kernbhrs.org or calling their human resource line at 661-868-6840.