September is National Suicide Prevention Month. View ideas for action.
Each year, Ohio loses between 1,200 and 1,500 of our citizens due to death by suicide. Put another way, that’s an estimated 49,000 years of life lost annually. The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) is collaborating with other state and local agencies, organizations and individuals to save lives. Local suicide prevention coalitions have been formed in many counties, and a number of initiatives are currently underway to raise awareness, eliminate stigma, promote suicide prevention as a public health issue and increase help-seeking behavior.
Supported by a $2 million investment included in Gov. John Kasich's SFY 2016-17 biennial budget, Ohio’s initiative brings together the departments of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Health and Medicaid with a variety of stakeholders to focus on a shared goal of reducing suicides through: workforce development; expanded resources for survivors of loss; a collaborative approach to crisis hotlines and text support; research; awareness and stigma reduction. Ohio is one of only five states nationwide to designate funding specifically for suicide prevention.
Press Release: (April 14, 2016) Ohio Unveils Suicide Prevention Initiative
Summary: Ohio's Suicide Prevention Plan for SFY 2016-17
OhioMHAS has partnered with the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) to provide intensive training directed toward clinicians working with individuals at risk in behavioral health and primary care settings, as well as Federally Qualified Health Centers. Between April 2016 and February 2017, Zero Suicide AcademiesTM in six areas of the state will target more than 300 individuals. SPRC will facilitate ongoing support and education by offering a learning community to participants.
Additionally, OhioMHAS will support education and training opportunities in evidence-based practices to assist with increased workforce capacity. Examples include the Annual Ohio Prevention and Education Conference and co-sponsorship of The Ohio State University’s Annual Suicide Prevention Conference.
Ohio MHAS is committed to enhancing Postvention efforts to support the people who have had a loved one complete a suicide and may be at risk due to their own emotional response to the tragedy. Postvention strategies will include regional training and technical assistance for Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors (LOSS) Teams in Ohio communities. These volunteer LOSS Teams ensure that those impacted by suicide have the immediate support needed to cope with their trauma and receive a message of hope.
Media and Social Media Reporting Guidelines have been developed from a literature search resulting in the creation of a training, dissemination, evaluation and monitoring plan. OhioMHAS engaged Nationwide Children's hospital in Columbus and the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University in Athens to create tools that could assist reporters and editors, and host a series of workshops at six Ohio colleges during Spring 2017.
OhioMHAS is collaborating with The Ohio State University College of Psychiatry and the Ohio Departments of Health and Medicaid on a data surveillance system to assist in targeting services for individuals at risk. An analysis of community-based services and supports will identify gaps, current strengths and future focus. An additional study will compare lithium prescribing patterns to those for antidepressant/mood stabilizing drugs. The results could assist prescribers with updated information focused on reducing the risk of suicide.
OhioMHAS will evaluate Ohio’s ability to provide crisis hotline and text support through access to free, 24/7, emotional support and information. This will include determining the strengths and capacity of existing certified hotlines, assessing expansion potential and developing a plan to determine effectiveness. To be the most effective, we must ensure that these resources are utilizing evidence based practices and are culturally/linguistically appropriate.
In addition, OhioMHAS is making it easier for individuals who are experiencing a stressful situation to find immediate help, 24/7 with the launch of a free, confidential, statewide Crisis Text Line. Any Ohio resident who needs help coping with a stressful situation can now text the keyword “4hope” to 741 741 to be connected to a crisis counselor.