As we approach World Suicide Prevention Day on Sept. 10, consider ways you can promote suicide prevention practices individually or in your organization:
- Promote the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. In Washington, 988 includes access to the Native and Strong Lifeline, the first program of its kind providing crisis support to individuals of American Indian and Alaska Native descent, staffed by Native crisis counselors.
- Share messaging from National Institute of Mental Health in organizational publications or staff meetings.
- Sign up for Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) training. This training highlights three simple steps to help save a life.
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. The rate of death from suicide in Washington has been higher than the national average since 2010 and over 45,000 people die from suicide each year nationally. Suicide can feel like a difficult topic to talk about because people often feel they do not know what to say or worry they will say the wrong thing. This is not the case. Talking about suicide serves as a primary prevention strategy. You can make a difference by learning the warning signs and ways to help yourself or someone else.
Health care workers are at an increased risk for suicide due to the nature of working in health care and it is imperative we understand the best ways to support the health care workforce. A report issued by AHA in 2022, highlighted three drivers that increase risk of suicide for health care workers: stigma about seeking behavioral health care, limited access to behavioral health treatment and job-related stressors. The report also calls out categories of interventions hospitals should consider, including increasing access to behavioral health services, making operational enhancements to ensure institutional stigma is not a barrier to resources, promoting organizational campaigns that normalize seeking help and ensuring high-quality training for all staff. (Brittany Weiner)