An average of two Los Angeles County residents die by suicide each day, eclipsing rates for drug overdoses, vehicle crashes or homicides, local health officials reported Friday.

Image from 211.org homepage for suicide help.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said its latest figures show that 779 area residents died by their own hand in 2013, compared with 758 deaths from drug overdoses, 711 car crash fatalities and 564 murders.

While the county’s suicide rate is lower than the state and national averages, public health officials say even more cases could have been prevented if there was more awareness and encouragement for people to get help.

“The stigma around seeking help is very real, but talking about suicide actually opens up avenues for help and support,” said Tony Kuo, acting director of the department’s Division of Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention.

“Suicide is devastating, but it can be prevented,” Kuo said. “Free resources are available to help people in need of support.”

Those seeking help, support or information are encouraged to contact:

Each of the hotlines operates around the clock, seven days a week, and is equipped to offer help in various languages.

— City News Service

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