After years of seeming to care more about San Diego County’s credit rating than its obligations to residents, supervisors have taken a welcome interest in public health. In 2014, at the behest of Supervisor Dianne Jacob, the county launched an unusually ambitious project that brought together local neuroscientists in an attempt to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. In June, Jacob joined fellow Supervisors Greg Cox, Kristin Gaspar, Nathan Fletcher and Jim Desmond in voting for a county budget with the biggest emphasis yet on mental health, child welfare and public health services.
Now Fletcher has asked supervisors to create a confidential program to provide mental health services to all first responders in San Diego County, including those who are retired. A study by the Ruderman Family Foundation found that in 2017, both firefighters and police officers were more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty.