Tompkins County Introduces New Model to Address Rising Number of Suicides

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As part of a countrywide suicide prevention initiative, Tompkins County Suicide Prevention Coalition voted on Monday, June 18th, to recommend the Zero Suicide Model for healthcare providers to the Community Services Board and the Tompkins County Legislature for consideration.

The Zero Suicide Model holds that suicide prevention is a core responsibility of healthcare and those using it are committed to closing gaps in the healthcare system that can prevent suicides. According to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “there is strong evidence that a comprehensive public health approach is effective in reducing suicide rates.” This method includes: training staff, screening for suicide ideation, using evidence-based interventions, mandating continuous data-driven quality improvement and treating suicidality as a presenting problem.

In addition to the recommendation, four healthcare organizations announced their agreement to become Zero Suicide champions. These organizations – Tompkins County Mental Health services; Alcohol & Drug Council of Tompkins County; Cornell Health, the healthcare center of Cornell University; and Cayuga Area Plan/Preferred, Inc., which represents primary care providers – join Cayuga Medical Center, who announced their adoption of a Zero Suicide Model in March 2018. Tompkins County Deputy Mental Health Services Commissioner Sharon MacDougall asked the champions to “commit to the model and report back to this coalition next spring in 2019.”

The Sophie Fund, a non-profit organization working to improve and support the mental health of young people in greater Ithaca and Tompkins county, released a statement after the meeting on Monday. It thanked the Tompkins County Suicide Prevention Coalition for their support of the Zero Suicide initiative going on to say, “we must do more to prevent suicide in Tompkins County to commit to the Zero Suicide Model and to begin the implementation process as expeditiously as possible.”

Source: Tompkins Coalition: “Yes” to Zero Suicide Model, The Sophie Fund – June 18, 2018