Officials: 500,000 people in LA County have considered suicide

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About half a million people in Los Angeles County acknowledge they have seriously considered suicide, public health officials say.

Nicolle Perras from the L.A. County Public Health Department was one of dozens of mental health advocates at the California Endowment Wednesday for a summit on suicide prevention.

Perra says suicide is a major public health issue, “We look at it from not just the hospitalization, the emergency department visits, and costs and things like that. But we also look at the time away from work, time away from school, time away from families."

"We look at as the burden on the individual, the family, the society, the community. It hits us at all levels. Everyone feels the effect of that,” Perra says.

Experts say more people died of suicide than of homicide last year in L.A. The L.A. County Health Department summit is focused on preventing young people, college students and veterans from taking their lives.