Didi Hirsch receives $1 million grant for teen suicide prevention

Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services was awarded a $1 million grant to expand its suicide prevention program for young people under age 24 and their families.

The grant came from the Everychild Foundation, made up of more than 200 women who each donate $5,000 annually to fund a single $1 million grant to launch or expand a project that eases the suffering of local children.

The grant covers final capital expenses to outfit Didi Hirsch's new building in Century City that houses our Suicide Prevention Center, the first and most comprehensive in the nation. Launched in 1958, the Center offers crisis intervention, therapy and support, as well as training and education.

The grant covers the costs of upgrading our crisis call/chat data system and software for data analysis. It also will pay for video conferencing equipment, a generator to run the crisis line during disasters and outages, 28 soundproofed crisis line cubicles and related furnishings.

Didi Hirsch President/CEO Kita S. Curry, PhD, said the agency could not meet the increasing need for its services without a larger home and state-of-the-art technology and equipment.

"With its generous support, the Everychild Foundation has made a commitment to one of the most stigmatized and neglected health risks facing youth and young adults' suicide," Curry said. "The suicide rate doubled among 10- to 14-year-olds in the last decade, and it is the second-leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds. Thanks to the Everychild Foundation, in our new Suicide Prevention Center, we will have the room and tools needed to expand services for this vulnerable group."

Everychild founder and president Jacqueline Caster said the women of her group are grateful for the opportunity to bring more resources and attention to suicide prevention.

Until recently, the topic of suicide was only discussed in hushed tones and out of the public eye, as it was considered a shameful act," Caster said. "Today, views have changed, and it is widely known that when a young person has suicidal thoughts, they are mostly a result of untreated mental health issues. If this new center, with an increased capacity to help and to publicize the program, can save even just one young person from taking his/her own life, this new grant will have been a tremendous success."


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