What is Zero Suicide?
The foundational belief of Zero Suicide is that suicide deaths for individuals under the care of health and behavioral health systems are preventable. For systems dedicated to improving patient safety, Zero Suicide presents an aspirational challenge and practical framework for system-wide transformation toward safer suicide care.
Why is WTCG doing Zero Suicide in Tom Green County?
No individual or family is immune to suicide in one way or another. Suicide does not differentiate between ages, race, income, gender, or social standing. It is the 10th leading cause of death in the US, the 3rd leading cause for adults between the ages of 15-34, and the 2nd leading cause in children between the ages of 10-14. Not to mention that from 1999 to 2015, U.S.’s suicide rate had an increase of 27% (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Tom Green County (TGC) is no stranger to this epidemic.
Although Texas has a lower suicide rate than the nation, TCG surpasses the state and national averages. In 2014, 13.4 for every 100,000 persons living in the U.S. died of suicide, while Texas had a ratio of 12 suicide deaths for every 100,000 people (CDC). However, during that same year, TGC had 16.3 suicide deaths for every 100,000 people (CDC). As a matter of fact, between the years 2000 and 2015, suicide rates in the county far exceeded the state and national averages.
WTCG believes that every life matters, and so we consider it our mission to provide evidence based suicide prevention for our clients and community. While zero suicides might sound a goal beyond reach, we believe that with proper screening, assessment, and treatment, it is possible to put an end to death by suicide in our community.
What does the Zero Suicide initiative in Tom Green County look like?
Through funds from the House Bill-13, Community Mental Health Grants, WTCG and regional partners are developing the Zero Suicide initiative in TGC. Our first step was to build the capacity to treat those who are at risk of suicide. To do so, WTGC has provided all employees with suicide prevention training and will continue to hire newly specialized therapists. WTCG has begun to establish, along with partnering agencies, procedures for when an individual is identified to be at risk. WTCG will also work with these agencies to provide training on identification or persons with suicidal thought and/or behaviors. When fully operational, WTCG hopes to provide best practice suicide prevention to all persons who walk through our doors regardless of demographics or ability to pay.
Who is going to be involved in the Zero Suicide Initiative in Tom Green County?
The collaborative partners involved include MHMRCV, River Crest Hospital, Shannon Behavioral Health, Tom Green County Sherriff’s Office, Mental Health Deputy program, Shannon Medical Center, Community Medical Center, all local Justices of the Peace and, in certain cases, the San Angelo Police Department.
For more information, please contact the Zero Suicide Coordinator, D'Nae Johnson, LMSW via phone at (325) 944-2561 or via email at email@example.com