As the COVID-19 public health emergency continues, many Californians are continuing to experience secondary impacts on their mental health. To help tackle this challenge, I recently collaborated on a letter with the Directors of Health Care Services and Public Health, encouraging all California medical and behavioral health providers to ask their patients the four “Ask Suicide-Screening Questions” developed by the National Institute of Mental Health.
The letter gives simple instructions and resources about what to do if you identify someone who is at risk. You can’t help if you don’t ask – and if you ask – you could help someone get the help they need.
Individuals with four or more Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are about 38 times as likely to attempt suicide, when compared to individuals with no ACEs.
For more information on addressing ACEs in your clinical practice, visit www.ACEsAware.org.
Nadine Burke Harris, MD, MPH, California Surgeon General
Office of the California Surgeon General
About ACEs Aware
The Office of the California Surgeon General and the state Department of Health Care Services are leading a first-in-the-nation statewide effort to screen children and adults for Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in primary care, and to treat the impacts of toxic stress with trauma-informed care. The ACEs Aware initiative is built on the consensus of scientific evidence demonstrating that early detection and evidence-based intervention improves outcomes. The bold goal of this initiative is to reduce ACEs and toxic stress by half in one generation, and to launch a national movement to ensure everyone is ACEs Aware. For more information, visit www.ACEsAware.org.