Talking about suicide can seem difficult. It can feel burdensome or invasive. And though false, there is the perception that the mere mention of it will put the idea in someone’s head. The truth is, however, death by suicide is in fact preventable. With that in mind, the Mental Health Center is pleased to announce it has accepted the aspirational challenge to implement a Zero Suicide framework across our organization.
Among other things, Zero Suicide is a call to action for all individuals involved in the provision of health care, both clinical and non-clinical, to relentlessly pursue a reduction in suicide and improve the care for those individuals who seek help. In light of our commitment, MHCGM has pledged to:
- Lead – Create a leadership-driven, safety-oriented culture committed to dramatically reducing suicide among people under care. Include survivors of suicide attempts and suicide loss in leadership and planning roles.
- Train – Develop a competent, confident, and caring workforce.
- Identify – Systematically identify and assess suicide risk among people receiving care.
- Engage – Ensure every individual has a pathway to care that is both timely and adequate to meet his or her needs. Include collaborative safety planning and restriction of lethal means.
- Treat – Use effective, evidence-based treatments that directly target suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
- Transition – Provide continuous contact and support, especially after acute care.
- Improve – Apply a data-driven quality improvement approach to inform system changes that will lead to improved patient outcomes and better care for those at risk.
MHCGM has also pledged to be a champion of Zero Suicide within the community. Recent State data reports that NH’s suicide rate has risen nearly 50% over the last 17-years to become the 2nd leading cause of death for individual 10 to 34. Consequently, we are weaving Zero Suicide principles into our inter-agency partnerships and initiatives.
“Inspired by those families who suffered lives cut short from this preventable condition,” says MHCGM CEO Bill Rider, “we’ve started a process of change to better the entire system of healthcare. We believe our efforts, beginning from within, will inspire our partners in health to protect those presenting for care from the risk of death by suicide.”
While we know that individuals who die by suicide exhibit warning signs prior to an attempt, we also know that engaging a person in a conversation about suicidal thoughts can feel impossible. Thankfully, Zero Suicide offers clear, achievable steps to enact life-saving measures.