Suicide Prevention Resources for Organizations


The coronavirus pandemic has impacted many aspects of our lives in varying ways, including our mental and emotional health. From feelings of isolation due to lockdowns and anxiety due to uncertainty to depression brought on by job loss; the strain on mental health and well-being is as evident as the physical symptoms of COVID-19. In fact, a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found the percentage of American adults who reported seriously considering suicide has doubled since last year.

The risk of suicide has long been considered a major health concern and a leading cause of death in the United States. In light of the mental health impacts of COVID-19, the leaders in charge of organizations must be proactive in reviewing their suicide prevention practices to ensure they are still adequate. Organizations that serve vulnerable populations, such as behavioral healthcare providers and schools, have programs and procedures in place to mitigate this risk. To start, leaders and risk managers can go back to the basics to be sure there is an understanding of best practices for protecting the individuals they serve and then identify tools and resources that are best suited for their organization.

Best Practices for Suicide Prevention

The first step is to understand if the individuals who work for or are served by your organization are at risk for suicide. Suicides touch all areas of society. However, some organizations serving individuals at higher risk include:

  • Healthcare providers, especially those involved in behavioral health
  • Substance abuse treatment programs
  • Social work and foster care organizations
  • Counseling settings
  • Schools
  • Residential and hospitality settings

The next step is to evaluate procedures in place to prevent suicide. Areas organizations need to evaluate include:

Screening for suicide risk

Is there a prescribed process to identify individuals who are at risk for suicide?


Staff training

Are employees and volunteers aware of suicide risk factors and how to respond when they encounter these? Specialized training should be provided to gatekeepers who would most likely be involved and able to assess individuals potentially at risk.


Education

Is there education for individuals potentially at risk for suicide? This may include warning signs they should be aware of, information on coping mechanisms and problem solving, and where to get help. Are others such as family members, fellow classmates, and other program participants aware of warning signs and how to seek help?


Response program

Are there procedures in place to approach and assist individuals who show warning signs?


Referral resources

When the risk factors are beyond the capacity for the organization to address, where are the at-risk individuals referred and is the process seamless?


Resources

Is staff time and the organization's monetary resources set aside to address the areas noted above?

Tools and Resources for Suicide Prevention

PHLY has partnered with the Education Development Center (EDC) and Zero Suicide to develop a suicide prevention resource guide. This guide is designed to help organizations identify suicide prevention resources that would work well for their type of operations. Each section of the guide begins with resources for systemic efforts to prevent suicide and moves on to more specific tools for recognizing and responding to suicidal behaviors in individuals. Many of these resources are available at no cost. Click the button below to access the guide.

Download the Guide


Additional Resources for Suicide Prevention

The CDC's Suicide Prevention site provides a variety of resources and information, including a section providing support for teens and young adults.

The National Institute of Mental Health's (NIMH) website provides information, including statistics and data, as well as a Suicide Prevention site that discusses signs and symptoms, risk factors, and ongoing research.

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) has developed resources provided through its Resources and Programs center, including the following Fact Sheets related to COVID-19:
Zero Suicide has also created the Providing Suicide Care During COVID-19 website, collecting various resources, toolkits, and webinars, including the Suicide Prevention, Intervention & Postvention During COVID-19: What School-Based Staff Need to Know webinar.

Organizations who serve veterans can also find resources at the VA website for mental health, including their Suicide Prevention During the Coronavirus Pandemic document.

If you, or someone you know, are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741). Both services are free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889. All calls are confidential. Contact social media outlets directly if you are concerned about a friend's social media updates or dial 911 in an emergency.

The Veterans Crisis Line connects service members and veterans in crisis, as well as their family members and friends, with qualified, caring Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA) responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text messaging service. Dial 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 to talk to someone or send a text message to 838255 to connect with a VA responder. You can also start a confidential online chat session at veteranscrisisline.net/get-help/chat.


IMPORTANT NOTICE - The information and suggestions presented by Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Company in this E-Brochure is for your consideration in your loss prevention efforts. They are not intended to be complete or definitive in identifying all hazards associated with your business, preventing workplace accidents, or complying with any safety related, or other, laws or regulations. You are encouraged to alter them to fit the specific hazards of your business and to have your legal counsel review all of your plans and company policies.

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