Over the years, there have been all kinds of initiatives to make roads safer – such as seatbelts, speed limits, and air bags, to name a few. We even have electronic signs now over interstates and next to roadways to alert drivers to dangers. However, did you know that since 2008, more people have died in Kentucky each year by suicide than from automobile accidents?
Our society recognized that the number of individuals killed in automobiles was unacceptable and took steps to reduce that number dramatically. Now, a new movement has taken hold to address another public safety issue in a dramatic way. Suicide is a public health issue that has been growing way too fast. We at Passport wanted to pass along information about the “Zero Suicide” initiative, which has a bold goal for both physical and behavioral health care providers to reduce the number of deaths by suicide to zero.
In 2013, Kentucky passed a law requiring mandatory training requirements for social workers, marriage and family therapists, professional counselors, fee-based pastoral counselors, alcohol and drug counselors, psychologists, and occupational therapists in suicide assessment, treatment, and management. But suicide prevention is not just the job of behavioral health providers. More than half of people who died by suicide saw their general practitioner in the month before their death, and more than 10% were seen in an emergency department within the 60 days before their death.
The goal of this initiative is to make suicide an event that an individual and their friends and family NEVER have to experience again.
To learn more about how healthcare providers and advocates can take part in making this goal reality, go online to zerosuicide.sprc.org.
To read a pamphlet of important information that you can use if your teen is thinking of suicide, please click here.