Preventing Suicide and Its Devastating Consequences in San Diego County
Is your office staff trained in basic suicide prevention? Do they know how to recognize warning signs for suicide, how to ask patients if they are thinking of suicide, and where to direct patients for help?
Do you have a patient screening and assessment protocol in place? Do you have an action plan if you suspect a patient is thinking about suicide?
Sept. 9–15, 2012, is National Suicide Prevention Week. In support of suicide prevention, please take a minute to review your office policies and protocol for suicide risk assessment and screening.
77% of people who die by suicide had contact with a health professional within a year of death, and 45% of these contacts were within one month (Source: Luoma, Martin, and Pearson, Am. J. Psychiatry, 2002). Many people die by overdosing on medications prescribed to them at physician visits. Because of this, healthcare providers and other medical staff are critical partners in reducing suicides and their devastating consequences.
The San Diego County Suicide Prevention Action Plan, published in October 2011, proposes strategies designed to enhance efforts to increase understanding and awareness of suicide, decrease stigma associated with suicide, and ultimately prevent suicide.
For more information and to learn how to get involved, please visit www.sdchip.org/spap.aspx or contact Holly Salazar at (858) 609-7966. For mental health and suicide prevention resources and screening tools, visit www.mdhelpsd.org.