Kern County Behavioral Health is launching the Zero Suicide campaign after seeing a 30-percent increase in those deaths in 20 years. Ellen Eggert runs the local suicide hotline and told Supervisors Tuesday they get about 25-thousand calls a year. “We’re not connected anymore. People call our hotline all the time and just want somebody to listen. After they do that for about 20 minutes and we listen non-judgementally, they feel better.” Ads on billboards and buses will help people recognize the signs of suicide like reckless behavior and giving away possessions. The free hotline is 1-800-273-TALK.

Kelli Pierce/Suzanne Grant